Several thousand students are left in limbo after their university folded earlier this month, but for a Neponset, Illinois woman, that’s not going to stop her from overcoming and chasing her dreams.
Argosy University offered programs online and at nearly 20 campuses across the country.
The for-profit school started facing issues from the U.S. Department of Education in February.
The government cut off student aid and grants after more than $13 million for students stipends were used in other areas.
That’s from court documents obtained by Local Four News.
Monica Thumma was enrolled at Argosy for five and a half years.
She graduated with her Bachelor’s Degree in 2017.
The last year and four months, she’s working toward a Master’s in Clinical Mental Health.
When the university emailed her in February saying they were appealing a Department of Education decision she wasn’t too worried.
“They said that they were appealing the decision, not to worry, classes were going to continue. I didn’t think anything about it,” said former Argosy student Monica Thumma.
That all changed in early March with barely 48 hours notice.
Thumma said, “March 6th I get an email at 8:40 pm, two days before the school closes.”
That’s all the time Monica Thumma had to complete any assignments and turn them in.
Thumma said, “Got an A in the class, but other than that, it was kind of a see ya, sorry about your luck.”
Now the working mother of a 7-year-old is trying to comprehend how a university could leave her and other students high and dry.
Thumma “They’ve owed me $1,700 for a stipend since January 22.”
And the university where she’s invested a lot of time and money hasn’t been providing much help.
Thumma said, “I can’t get any answers, so it’s very disheartening.”
But Thumma said one thing is for sure she’s not closing the book on her education.
Thumma “I’m not going to throw everything away that I’ve done just because of this little hiccup.”
One of the biggest challenges though has been finding a place that will let her pick up where Argosy left off.
“I’ve called 17 different colleges since learning about this. Most won’t accept my transfer credits. Some of them don’t offer Clinical mental health program in the state of Illinois. Some of them will except six of my transfer credits and I found one university that will accept 15 of my 21, but they will not accept my residency. So it’s been, it’s been a struggle,” said Thumma.
That determination is because Thumma has overcome so much more.
Thumma said, “I’ve been sober for ten years. July 29 this year will be ten years.”
After several miscarriages, Thumma said she turned to drugs to help cope.
Thumma said, “A weekend thing here and there and then it progressed from prescription medications, pain pills, whatever I could get my hands on.”
For Thumma, the low point came while incarcerated and losing her grandmother.
Thumma said, “My grandmother was always my biggest fan. Always believed in me. Always knew I could get clean.”
After a couple of attempts in rehab, she determined that was the moment to get and stay clean.
“My grandfather was an alcoholic, so she went through it with him. She’d come to visit me in rehab; she came to visit me in jail. I think if she would have passed away while I was not incarcerated, that I probably would have ended up in the ground right next to her,” said Thumma.
Thumma said she took part in a program while in prison that supported her through inpatient treatment and to mourn the loss of her grandmother.
And once Thumma earns her degree, she hopes to help many others with this struggle.
Thumma said, “If i can help just one person, then it will all be worth it.”
Her goal is to be able to open her own practice that will focus on helping people in the legal system get assistance with substance abuse recovery.
“All it takes is one person that says hey, I know where you’ve been, I’ve been there myself. I know that feeling of despair, that feeling of hopelessness. I know those looks your family is giving you, and I’ve been their personally. Let me help you through this. That’s what I was wanting to try to accomplish,” said Thumma.
Thumma is currently working on the enrollment process at a university that will accept the most credits of the 21 she’s earned in the Master’s program.
Thumma said she expects to be out upwards of $13,000.
She also told Local 4 News, she also learned from her student loan provider that the most recent student loan payment, even though it shows up on Argosy’s records. Thumma said that financial provider is now investigating where that money came from including if an account was opened in Thumma’s name.