State agency takes complaints against for-profit schools but delivers few results

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by BYRON HARRIS

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WFAA

Posted on February 18, 2011 at 10:03 PM

Updated Saturday, Feb 19 at 6:55 PM

In the state of Texas, 96,000 people attend for-profit career schools, but if they have a gripe, where do they complain?

The Texas Workforce Commission made it easier after a News 8 investigation pointed out how difficult it was to have a voice against a powerful industry.

“It's difficult to find a complaint form on that Web site,” said Sharod Cox, TWC complainant. “Very difficult.”

Cox was angry at his trade school for not delivering what he thought they promised.

Unlike most students, he knew trade schools in Texas were regulated by the Texas Workforce Commission.  When he went to their Web site, he could not figure out how to file a complaint.

“They're horrible,” Cox said.

After News 8 pointed out the difficulty with filing a complaint, TWC revamped its site.

Now, when you look under “Students: Plan your future,”,you can look to see if a school you are considering is licensed by the state.

There is also an area to go to file a complaint if you are already at a school and have problems.

There are still problems with the process. There is very little information about a school's quality, the percentage of students who graduate or the percentage of graduates who get jobs.

There is also little evidence the TWC actually helped students with complaints.
 
In Cox's case, the process took months. Nothing happened.

He is not alone; several students told News 8 they  were frustrated by the process.

The TWC, the trade school police, said they are hampered in taking action because of the way the laws were written.

Still, many students are lucky to even make it to the TWC website to file a complaint because they don't know about it. So even though it's now easier to complain, results are another matter.  

 E-mail bharris@wfaa.com

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