Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Help Me Howard: Diploma
If you graduate from high school or college, you expect to get a diploma. But one South Florida woman says the school she graduated from won't give her the diploma she worked to get and wants so badly. Now she's calling Help me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
WSVN -- Look at this, if you throw the ball, it takes Buddy a few seconds to find it because, while you can see it, he can't it.
Patrick Fraser: "He can fetch a ball even though he's blind?"
Rebecca Ramos: "Yeah, cause he smells for it."
Buddy is a bright little dog and Rebecca is a bright college-educated person with no proof of it.
Rebecca Ramos: "There is no reason why I shouldn't be able to obtain my degree."
Actually, Rebecca did graduate with a degree in criminal justice from Florida Metropolitan University, but she did not get a diploma.
Rebecca Ramos: "I want them to give me what is rightfully mine. I paid the school, I've earned my degree."
After Rebecca graduated, she joined the Army Reserves. When she got back from training she thought her diploma would be waiting. It was not, so she called the school.
Rebecca Ramos: "They said the person who was handling degrees was no longer working there, they lost all the degrees and had to reorder them."
That was in 2006. She has now waited and waited for almost 18 months.
Rebecca Ramos: "I talk to them just about every other month and nothing."
She has even visited the school a couple of times. No luck.
Rebecca Ramos: "Every time I go, it's the same excuse. They don't know where it's at, they don't have it, they will re-order it."
Frustrated she went to the top.
Rebecca Ramos: "I even spoke with the Dean, and she assured me that my degree would be re-ordered, and I would receive it in two weeks.
Patrick Fraser: "How long ago was that?"
Rebecca Ramos: "Two months ago."
Now it's just a piece of paper, but Rebecca says it's an important one to her.
Rebecca Ramos: "Because I worked very hard for it. I deserved it."
But if you graduate, whether it's high school, a trade school or a college, do they have to give you a diploma? Let's bring in the guy with a diploma that shows he has a law degree, Howard.
Howard Finkelstein: "If you complete all of your academic requirements and do not owe them any money like Rebecca, you are entitled to your diploma, and they can't wait months or years to give it to you. If they do, file a complaint with the agency that regulates them, and, if they are a private school, they can lose their license."
A couple of hours after I called Florida Metropolitan University, they told me the diploma was ready to be picked up and had been there since June.
When I asked the school why it took so long for Rebecca to get her diploma, they were very honest. They said there was nothing in the file to show why, and, in this case, it just must have fallen through the cracks.
Rebecca Ramos: "I am a lot happier that I have it now, but I am disappointed that it took two years to receive it."
Rebecca now has her degree and she has also learned she may be heading to Afghanistan with her Army unit in October, which she told us makes that diploma even more important.
Rebecca Ramos: "God forbid anything happens when I am overseas. At least my mom has this to say, 'My daughter did this and my daughter did that.' I want to make sure my mom is proud of everything I have done."
Patrick Fraser: "Let's hope, if she goes to Afghanistan, she comes home safely. By the way, a school can withhold a diploma if certain requirements aren't met, like not paying tuition. But, otherwise, they have nothing to gain by doing it. In Rebecca's case, it's just a simple mistake. We all make them."
Your problem graduated to a whole new level? Need someone to educate the other side? Contact us. We don't have a master's degree in solutions, but we do have a diploma in stubbornly determining solutions.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: