I Used a Online High School Diploma to Enroll in Hair School. – Jessica

“Dear Steve,

In 2009 I took out a student loan for hair school. The requirements were to have a high school diploma. I used a highschool diploma I got online to enroll. Everything seemed ok fine and went peachy I was approved for pell grant, subsidize , and unsubsidize loan. The lady that enrolled me and did my fafsa there told me I have to have a certain amount of hours to receive my loans and pay for the rest of my schooling and the rest is mine.

Reaching those certain amount of hours I received all loans. Later after I had receive the money they told me my diploma was not accredited and that I needed a ged. They said I could not take state boards without it. Had I known this I would not have attended that school until I did things the legit way by obtaining my ged the least they could do was tell me in the beginning.

Is it possible to get my loans forgiven? I read on some websites what they did to me was fraud. I came across another forum and read this :

Ability to benefit
Every school must certify that students are eligible for a federal student loan. For students without a high school diploma or GED, this means the school must demonstrate that the student is academically able to benefit from the school’s programs before the student can take out a loan. If a school falsely certified you for a program for which you did not qualify, you may be eligible for loan cancellation.

Ability to benefit cancellation only applies to fraudulent certification. It does not apply to schools that misrepresent their education programs, the quality of their facilities and faculty, or their ability to help you find employment in your field of study.


money narrow

Dear Jessica,

I am probably one of the most compassionate people when it comes to helping people with debt problems. But seriously, you used an online non-accredited high school diploma in place of a requirement to have a high school diploma or GED?

I don’t see where the school was at fault here. It seems they asked for a high school diploma, which is typically though of as being received from a regular school, or a valid GED.

It seems the school relied on your statements you had achieved a valid high school diploma and it is not the school that is blocking you from getting licensed. It appears to be the State will not accept it for licensing. That seems to be a fundamental requirement you should have researched before enrolling in the school. “What do I need to do to get licensed?”

If you have any doubt what your State requirements are and if they might accept your online diploma, contact your state licensing board and ask them if there are any waivers or alternative allowances.

I suggest you contact the hair school and see what arrangements can be made to put your graduation on hold while you receive your GED and then graduate.

Please post your responses and follow-up messages to me on this in the comments section below.


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2 thoughts on “I Used a Online High School Diploma to Enroll in Hair School. – Jessica”

  1. having been in financial aid for 27 years, I have some additional information for Jessica who wrote you about the school that admitted her without a valid HS diploma. She was actually ineligible to even enroll and be admitted in the school (if it is accredited by one of the national accrediting bodies and therefore not entitled to receive any federal funds – Pell Grant, Subsidized or Unsubsidized student loans or any other federal aid. It is the school’s responsibility to identify bogus on-line diploma mills before they accepted her enrollment. There are folks out there that innocently think these diploma mills are legitimate. She should contact either the State Education Department in her state or the U.S. Department of Education’s Ombudsman’s office for assistance or contact both agencies. What should ultimately happen is that anything she received should be refunded by the school to the U.S. Department of Education and she should not be charged anything by the school since she was technically ineligible to enroll. All charges should be forgiven as well as any money she paid out of pocket should be refunded to her. I hope this information helps. Nancy

    • Nancy, I agree with you but the stumbling block here is the school reliance of the diploma. According to the Department of Education the requirement is “you must have either a high school diploma or a recognized equivalent (such as a General Educational Development certificate (GED) or a homeschool education).” the language on what constitutes a high school diploma is vague.

      “If you were enrolled in college or career school prior to July 1, 2012, you may show you’re qualified to obtain a higher education by passing an approved ability-to-benefit test (if you don’t have a diploma or GED, a college can administer a test to determine whether you can benefit from the education offered at that school); completing six credit hours or equivalent course work toward a degree or certificate (you may not receive aid while earning the six credit hours); or meeting other federally approved standards your state establishes.”

      And in this particular case the issue is not with the school or the education received but with the State Licensing Board requirement which is different than the school. See http://studentaid.ed.gov/eligibility/basic-criteria

      If you have information or a link that says the Department of Education will not recognize a state approved high school, please let us all know. That would be helpful. Very helpful.


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