San Diego mom takes out loan for RN degree, says school lost its accreditation

SAN DIEGO - A local mother said she is out thousands of dollars and cannot get the degree she thought she was going to get.

Bernadette Magno told Team 10 that The College Network destroyed her dream and finances, while the company said that is not true.

Magno said she lives every day to make life better for her 2-year-old son, Wyatt.

"If I work paycheck to paycheck now, well what's left for my son in the future?" Magno said.

And her son's future is one of the main reasons she said The College Network sounded perfect. The licensed vocational nurse said she was told by the company she could take all her classes online, earn a bachelor in science and nursing and then get her RN degree.

"Go to work, go home, take care of my son. When he's taking a nap, take care of my studies," Magno said.

She called The College Network and talked to a counselor.

"Within a day, he was at my house already," Magno said.

She told Team 10 it would cost $10,000 for the first education module and $30,000 total. She needed a loan.

"They found a lender for me," Magno said, adding that becoming a nurse would have meant more money and a better life.

Students completed courses online and then had to transfer to degree-granting institutions, she said.

"They found that the programs were suspended," said Hannah Bingham, an attorney who represents Magno and two other students.

Bingham said The College Network is no longer licensed with the California Board of Nursing. The state found the arrangement between The College Network and two universities to offer online nursing classes was not legal in California.

"And now they are stuck with substantial debt, educational credits with no value and no path to earn their degrees," Bingham said. She has filed a lawsuit on behalf of Magno alleging breach of contract.

"They need a refund and TCN needs to be punished," Bingham said.

Magno paid several thousand dollars and today she said she still owes on that $10,000 loan.

"I'm going paycheck to paycheck. Instead of going to my son or going to savings, it's going to my lender that is useless to me right now," Magno said.

Team 10 contacted TCN, which is based in Indiana.

A spokesman said the company made an offer to the three customers, but it was not accepted.

"The College Network has been helping our customers complete their degree programs for over 20 years," the spokesman wrote in an email.

The email also included a letter from TCN's attorney to Bingham, which is referenced in the spokesman's points:

"The program these customers started was approved by the CA Board of Registered Nursing in February of 2007.

These three customers signed up for their program months prior to decisions made by Sonoma State University and the CA Board of Registered Nursing respectively in September of 2012 and in November of 2012 that placed the program on hold going forward.

These customer's attorney has stated several inaccuracies in the events that took place related to these three customers in their letter to us that have all been corrected in writing back to their attorney. A copy of the letter is attached correcting these inaccuracies.

Regardless of the inaccuracies, The College Network has made fair offers to all three of these customers. Unfortunately, no response has been made by the customers or their legal representation to resolve their issues.

It is unfortunate but it appears, the customer's attorney is looking to use your forum to force action that is outside the reasonable offers made to their clients with an intention to avoid the "Governing Law and Dispute Resolution" portion of the contracts signed by these three customers."

Click here to read the attorney's letter referenced above.

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