Akron single mother fights college loan fees from Brown Mackie College parent company

Posted at 8:41 AM, Jul 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-08 11:52:48-04

Lakura Watkins is an Akron single mother who believes she's being treated unfairly on a college loan she's been struggling to pay off over the past five years.

Watkins attended the now closed branch of Brown Mackie College in Akron and said the college parent company, Education Management Corporation, won't give her a clear explanation on more than $7,000 in fees on her college loan.

Watkins believes the company unfairly sent her college loan to a collection agency, racking up exorbitant fees.

She said the company communicated poorly when she disputed billing accuracy.

"In the one department they even verified they had the wrong address," Watkins said. "I tried to set up a payment plan, but they told me they didn't want a payment plan.  They wanted to still garnish my wages, but I was like, I can't get my wages garnished and make a payment plan."

Watkins has been working at Cracker Barrel in Fairlawn and is raising her 5-year-old daughter.

She's also trying to take care of her disabled brother, and help her mother and father.

According to Ohio's Attorney General, Brown Mackie College, and Education Management Corporation has had its issues.

Brown Mackie students like Amber Jurrius were left with an uncertain future after the college suddenly closed it's Akron location nine months ago.

Then in 2015, the Attorney General reported the Education Management Corporation was ordered to settle a class action lawsuit, forced to forgive $10 million in student loans.

The Attorney General accused the company of misleading students about graduation rates and transferability of credits.

News 5 made several attempts to reach the Education Management Corporation about this case, but our phone calls and email to its Pittsburgh headquarters have not been returned.

Meanwhile, all Watkins wants is an explanation on all the of loan fees that have placed her in a financial bind.

"They need to get it together, because you guys are out there charging these people, and myself and other people all this extra money for a school that's not even open anymore," Watkins said.