The Drama Continues ...


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Well I called accounting and they said the decision to disburse money for outside training was now in the Chief's hands.. and that it was not her decision anymore. Later in the day the Chief called me and told me Key Bank would not allow him to disburse this money to me.. which by the way is BS since I called them and they told me it was up to the school. He then told me the only way I could get any money back was to withdrawl from Sierra Academy. Its obvious they dont want to hand over any of OUR money unless they benefit from it somehow. I'll tell you this.. this whole episode has rubbed me the wrong way, and I have no intention of going back to Sierra Academy at this point. I've never been to a school that is worse managed in my life.. and Sierra takes the cake.

Now off to do some school hunting in florida..

Has anyone withdrawn yet AND gotten the check? You guys are in a bad situation here ... it's good that you recognize it.
I hope this doesn't turn into the "Get Your Money Back From Sierra Academy" forum....

Good luck.

I just got back from Sierra and it appears that next week they are going to start the move from the west end of the field to H2, and start making the classrooms. If this starts I have a good feeling things will be okay, at least long enough to get your money out. The Key loan is for school costs, so Sierra is not going to allow you to take thousand of dollars and go some other place, b/c Key has given Sierra the duty to manage the funds (this is true for all flight schools). If you leave, your money will be returned with in 30 days, and all your loans (educaid, stafford and other ones) will then become do in 6 months. You can enroll into another school but it must also be accredited and your loan companies must accept the school. So be carefull, I can not afford the $800 a month loan payment and I do not want to go to florida and get told thanks but no thanks and have to move again. In my previous career before this I have worked on bankruptcy audits for the creditors and I will tell you one thing, we want Sierra to open back up. Plus our money should be in a seperate escrow account and Sierra once a month sends a activity report to them and then they send Sierra the money. So we have a chance if Sierra goes under. I also feel knowing Ryan and the Chief well enough outside of school to know, that they are actually trying to fix things. And there are a few key meetings next week that are going to be very very good for the school. I will tell you one thing all the kids out there going and running to subpar schools and local FBO's just b/c of a little reorganization that in fact will bring Sierra back. Sierra has done moves in the past three months that will save it, they have cut costs and reorganized. I for one am staying and wish all the rest to wait and see, it is only three more weeks, plus the wx sucks and no one is flying any ways. See you all on Jan. 5th, I am already for my 7 am flight.
Key sent the school (FSI) the checks in my name which they turned over to me to do what i wanted to do with it. I put it in my bank and earned a little money on it as i made the payment's back to the school. Any school that wants all the money up front makes me a little sceptical.
Well I've decide to switch schools to Flight Safety.. I've had enough drama from the management at Sierra Academy. Its obvious they just didnt want to hand over my money.. then lied to me about it.. to say Key bank said they cant give me the money when Key Bank told me directly that it was up to the school just rubs me the wrong way.. oh well.. cyaaa its been fun.. not really.. but good luck..

Good luck at FSI. Sierra has long been one of those schools that make me cringe because of their ads.

You were a big defender of Sierra is the past...but no more. Would you say anyone going to Sierra from now on is making a mistake?
Well I still think the instruction is very good, so I wouldnt really discourage someone from going to Sierra in general, but I would definately warn them of the management... if they go in with the understanding that it may not be all that it appears.. more power to them.

Sounds kinda like an ATA deal happening there. I havent kept up with Sierra's situation but by the first post I would be very cautious.
First off, I'm going to give you guys a little introduction about myself. I'm a graduate of Sierra, I started my 1st flight with Sierra and went through all the training from Private-Mei. I taught at Sierra for a period of 2-years. Before that, I also worked in various departments at Sierra (i am not going to disclose which one for obvious reasons) for almost 3-years before I went over to the flight department.

I personally know Mr. Skip Everett and most of the executive management guys that work upstairs (the people on the 2nd floor in the east corner of the building). I also personally know the current chief, Rashid, and the prior chiefs, Suzanne, Claudia, and John. In short, I've been through thick and thin with the company. I know their intentions during good business times and intentions during the bad times. I've spent many hours in service with them during the peak of the dot-com and also during the brink of Sept.11.

My suggestion to all enrollees at Sierra is to withdrawl and get your money as soon as possible. I no longer have ties with sierra. But based on my speculations and with the non-confirmed information that I receive from various sources, I've concluded that they've already eliminated all the profitable sides to the company and they are ready to close the doors.

For example, I have confirmed reports that Sierra sold off its Business Jet Center, Maintenance school, and Livermore Training facility (to pan am). These 3 entities of Sierra are profitable, each was sold for an undisclosed amount. What is left is it Oakland Flight-Training center. We all know that they don't make any money on this. What I'm saying is that Skip sold off the parts of the school where it is profitable, and of course has a money value. What is left is nothing, only the oakland flight-training. The aircrafts are all leased backs from Christian Aviation in Wymoning. The school has nothing.

I anticipate the doors will be shut (for good) within the next 2 months. If I am wrong I am wrong, but I'm probably one of the most credible guys out there that has info about SIerra since I've been around.

If you are a current student and if you want to discuss this with me in a personal manner, please send me a personal-msg on this site. Otherwise, don't say I haven't warned you guys.

Btw, One poster on this thread mentioned that all student-tuitions are supposed to be allocated in a seperate account which is totally untrue. I work with a few accredited schools in CA as well as KEY-BANK itself. There is NO SUCH requiremetn that the school has to keep your tuition money 'safe". In short, if they close their doors, their taking your money with them.
Although I'm not convinced that Sierra is shutting down, this has forced me to think about my options if this were to happen. Now is probably the time for Sierra students to think about a "plan B."

About them running off with our money - cannot happen in CA. Seven, I don't doubt your credentials, but California law protects students at any educational institution from having their money stolen. Do you know something we don't about Sierra getting around this law?
When I was working upstairs with Sierra, I know they were accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT) located in Arlington, Virginia.

Since about 2-years ago, Sierra lost its accreditation with ACCSCT because of the lack of job-placement ability (due to Sept.11 and airline reduction in hiring).

Today, Sierra Academy DOES NOT possess any nationally recognized accreditation. That is why you do not see that they offer anymore Goverment sponsored loan. This is the only reason why you see them using private financial instiutions now such as KEY-BANK.

Sierra Academy still has its PART-141 training programs, which is by no means of any sort of accreditation. Part-141 only means that the FAA recognizes your training, your staff, your equipment, and your facility. A 141 SCHOOL DOES NOT AUTOMATICALLY MAKE YOU AN ACCREDITATED SCHOOL.

Sierra is just a private corporation like any other business. Since it is not an accredited school, students are not afforded with the recourse of having their tuition garnished if the school decides to close down.
OK - My username is misleading. I was trying to come up with one quick so I could ask a question, and this was the first thing I could come up with. I tried to change it but it's waiting for approval from Doug.

I'm not a future pilot, but rather flyguy's wife.

Anyway - Seven, I understand where you are coming from and what you are saying, but the fact that the students have not paid any money to Sierra except for what training they've earned leads me to believe that they can't keep the money. Key will step in and take it back.

And as I recall, Patty in financial aid offered my husband a FAFSA form to fill out before she realized he already had a BS and therefore was ineligible for the gov't aid they receive. I could be wrong, but that's what I remember. And that was post 9-11.
I'm not sure who falls under the protection of this california law should Sierra Academy fail, but I do know this law only applies to california residents so students from other states wouldnt fall under this protection.

As for Sierra's accredition.. My understanding is Sierra Academy lost this accredition when they sold the A&P program as it was the A&P program that gave them the required amount of students enrolled in Sierra to be eligiable to be accredited.

The protection should apply to all students. But regardless, unless you are still claimed as a dependant on someone else's income taxes in another state, you are a resident of CA if you live here.
Sierra lost its accredidation between the time that I enrolled and when I actually started. I enrolled in August 2003 and at that time Patty, not realizing that I had a BS, told me about all of the Fedral Grand money I'd be entitled to. Since I had a BS the Key Loan was the only option. About a month later I was contacted by my instructor (who I actually knew before I enrolled) and was told that Sierra had lost its accredidation and should make sure it would not effect my financial aid. When I started in October, at orientation it was mentioned that they "just" lost accredidation due to the sale of the A&P school and that we no longer qualified as a technical school. It was also after they lost their accredidation that they had me sign the form explaining the protection act. Whether or not they lied to us about the reason they lost the accredidation I can't say, but it is a fact that it happened a few months ago, not 2 years ago.

Putting that aside, in order for them to shut down and run off with our money, they would have to file chapter 7. Since they just got a chunk of money from the sale of the A&P school, its hard to immagine that they would be bankrupt unless they deliberately piss away that money. Seven let me ask you again, do you know something we don't?
Here it is:


I don't see anything that says the institution must be accredited, and the way I interpret it, any school that charges tuition applies.
Putting that aside, in order for them to shut down and run off with our money, they would have to file chapter 7. Since they just got a chunk of money from the sale of the A&P school, its hard to immagine that they would be bankrupt unless they deliberately piss away that money. Seven let me ask you again, do you know something we don't?

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A business can easliy hide money so I wouldn't be surprised if your money is long gone.

Don't get my wrong, but I hope you get your money back. It sucks that schools have to do this students.

Flyguy, when you talked about a school charging tuition, would that be just for the ground schools. Because flying costs are considered tuition, but the classroom portion is. So you could get that money back, which is probably very minimal.
But regardless, unless you are still claimed as a dependant on someone else's income taxes in another state, you are a resident of CA if you live here.

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Actually you have to live in California for 1 year to be considered a resident of California, and you need to be able to prove it.. ie: drivers, license, utility bill, etc.

Flyguy, I respect your personal opinions regarding Sierra Academy. However, through the browsing I also knowing that you are somewhat of a new student to Sierra. And because of this, I personally believe that there is a lot to Sierra (there is definately a dark side to the school) that you have not seen.

I am not going to dispute your opinion about whether Sierra could take your money or not. At my present job, I work very closely with a few individuals that have been in the flight-training business for just about as long as Sierra has been. I will tell you again, schools like Sierra come and go all the time. I have seen it and it does happen.

Frankly I don't see any truth in the letter that Skip posted out to all the faculty and the students about the temp closure to the school. It is obvious that they are buying time for whatever they have planned doing.

Flyguy, can you really, honestly, believe that Mr. Everett had decided to spend money to restructure the school? Over the last 10 years, they haven't spent a penny on remodeling the facility... do you remember how the men's bathroom on the 1st floor looks like? how about the cafeteria? how about the instructor cubicle furnitures? How about the instructor office (across from gorundschool office) that appears to be collapsing?

To answer your question about knowing something about Sierra... Unfortunately, I do not have a concrete information about sierra, its financials, and its intentions. But having to be with them for about 5-6 years while working in various capacites with the school, I can tell you that only about 1 or 2 guys upstairs next to Skip REALLY knows whats going on. Everything else you hear from your "trusty staff" at the school is receiving inaccurate information and are being lied to.

At this point, I'm going to withdrawl from this topic. I've put out some very important classified information that generally should be considered only to be appropriate to be discussed in private. We'll see Monday what they say to you guys and you'll see if there are any "differences" in the school.

Until then, good luck and enjoy your flying.