Forsyth Tech cuts mother new check

Forsyth Tech cuts mother new check
May 04
04:45 2017



Sharon Harrison is finally a happy woman.

After eight long months, the Winston-Salem mother of three finally got the Parents PLUS Loan student refund she was supposed to have gotten from Forsyth Tech last fall to help with her son’s expenses.

But due to an administrative mix-up at the school, her check for $4,347.59 was sent to the wrong address, where someone, posing as she, promptly took it to a local Wells Fargo branch and cashed it.

From September 2016 until last week, Harrison had to grind through one bureaucratic nightmare after another, all the while being held responsible for a federal student loan refund she never received that threatened to ruin her credit until she paid it.

It wasn’t until Harrison contacted The Chronicle, asking for her community newspaper’s assistance two weeks ago, did she finally see daylight once the paper contacted both the chairman of the Forsyth Tech board of trustees, and the president of school as well.

Monday night, Harrison and her son went to Forsyth Tech offices, and was handed a check to make up for the stolen one. She was also promised another check to compensate her for the interest that had accrued on the loan that she was being held inexplicably responsible for.

Harrison was pleased. “Thank you for your continued support and the readers support and prayers,” she wrote to The Chronicle by email, acknowledging this newspaper’s advocacy on he behalf. “ I would not wish this ordeal on anyone. It has been a stressful time and I am glad it is now resolved.”

“I only hope [Forsyth Tech] has put safeguards in place so that this will not happen to another student. I also hope that Wells Fargo will pursue criminal charges against the individual(s) that also contributed to putting this fiasco in motion.”

Harrison concluded her missive, “My family and I want to again express a heartfelt ‘thank you’ as your investigative-style reporting prompted the spotlight on my plight.”

Unfortunately, Harrison’s worst fear indeed could happen again.

When The Chronicle interviewed Dr. Gary Green, president of Forsyth Tech last week, asking him why FT had no policy in place to deal directly with not only a clear administrative mistake on the part of his staff – namely sending Harrison’s loan refund check to the wrong address instead of the one that was clearly indicated on the student loan application –but also the clear case of identity theft when someone took the check to an area Wells Fargo, and allegedly cashed it there without showing proper identification, Dr. Green disagreed.

Though he confirmed his staff’s mistake, he pointed to the identity theft and the police investigation thereof as the real reason why she had to wait eight months for resolution. In fact, Green felt that allowing law enforcement to investigate the matter was a proper policy, and refused to accept any mishandling by his staff as a reason for Harrison’s interminable wait.

“You know, I always thought that the news can be harsh and not always lead to positive outcomes,” Harrison said Monday evening by email. “[Y]our paper has truly changed my perception.  The power of the press, when placed in responsible hands such as yours, can move mountains and get results.  Please continue to use your power of the press for our people and continue making a difference.  I will support [the] work [of] the Chronicle.

For our readers

Some of the things that allowed The Chronicle to promptly investigate Harrison’s claims were her meticulous notes (which included a timeline) and record of documents and correspondence to and from those involved. She created an impressive paper trail that helped dramatize her case, and make clear that she did everything she could before contacting The Chronicle.

If it’s something important to you and your family, then it’s important enough to keep the best records possible about (receipts, letters, etc.). This way, you can get effective assistance.

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Cash Michaels

Cash Michaels

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