Believe it or not, even though flight training is the most expensive education program that one can enter, Jet University AND YOUR FLORIDA FLIGHT SCHOOL is not regulated by anyone. Millions of dollars are at stake here but it just slips through the cracks.
Even though Jet University and your Florida flight school are not regulated, they still must follow Florida law. Read down on this page to find out about Section 1005.03 and Section 1005.04 and how it affects your rights.
These is a loophole in the law that lets Florida flight schools operate without supervision, or regulation, from the State of Florida.
The State of Florida thinks that the FAA regulates flight schools. Actually the FAA does not regulate flight schools. The FAA regulates the Flight Instructors.
Flight schools have to follow FAA rules, but they are not regulated.
There is no bonding requirement. There is no escrow requirement. There is no financial requirement for Florida flight schools. There is no insurance requirement. They can open this school with no money in the bank and no assets. By the way, they have no assets. They don't own the planes and they lease the building and the flight simulators.
Even though flight schools are not regulated by the State of Florida, they still must follow the laws of the State of Florida.
Actually Florida flight schools do come under the Fair Consumer Practices Section even though they are exempt from regulation. The problem is that there is not a State agency that is designated to enforce this section. Here is the statute:
1005.04 Fair consumer practices.--
(1) Every institution that is under the jurisdiction of the commission or is exempt from the jurisdiction or purview of the commission pursuant to s. 1005.06(1)(c) or (f) and that either directly or indirectly solicits for enrollment any student shall:
(a) Disclose to each prospective student a statement of the purpose of such institution, its educational programs and curricula, a description of its physical facilities, its status regarding licensure, its fee schedule and policies regarding retaining student fees if a student withdraws, and a statement regarding the transferability of credits to and from other institutions. The institution shall make the required disclosures in writing at least 1 week prior to enrollment or collection of any tuition from the prospective student. The required disclosures may be made in the institution's current catalog;
(b) Use a reliable method to assess, before accepting a student into a program, the student's ability to complete successfully the course of study for which he or she has applied;
(c) Inform each student accurately about financial assistance and obligations for repayment of loans; describe any employment placement services provided and the limitations thereof; and refrain from promising or implying guaranteed placement, market availability, or salary amounts;
(d) Provide to prospective and enrolled students accurate information regarding the relationship of its programs to state licensure requirements for practicing related occupations and professions in Florida;
(e) Ensure that all advertisements are accurate and not misleading;
(f) Publish and follow an equitable prorated refund policy for all students, and follow both the federal refund guidelines for students receiving federal financial assistance and the minimum refund guidelines set by commission rule;
(g) Follow the requirements of state and federal laws that require annual reporting with respect to crime statistics and physical plant safety and make those reports available to the public; and
(h) Publish and follow procedures for handling student complaints, disciplinary actions, and appeals.
(2) In addition, institutions that are required to be licensed by the commission shall disclose to prospective students that additional information regarding the institution may be obtained by contacting the Commission for Independent Education, Department of Education, Tallahassee.
History.--s. 247, ch. 2002-387; s. 45, ch. 2004-41.
You will need to ask your attorney to explain all of this to you, but here is how it looks to us:
1. Under section 1, it clearly states that this institution (A FLIGHT SCHOOL) must abide by and follow section 1005.04 even if they are exempt from regulation of the education commission.
2. 1 (a) Jet University should have furnished you the following at least one week prior to your enrollment:
THIS MEANS YOU SHOULD HAVE RECEIVED ALL OF THE FOLLOWING AT LEAST ONE WEEK PRIOR TO YOUR ENROLLMENT AT A FLORIDA FLIGHT SCHOOL:
a. A written statement of the purpose of the flight school
b. A written statement of the flight school's educational programs and curricula.
c. A written description of the physical facilities at the flight school. This would include the buildings as well as a list of the aircraft used in training.
d. A written statement of the status of any licensure which would include FAA licenses, business licenses, State education licenses. If they are not required to be licensed, then they should state that fact.
e. A written fee schedule.
f. A written statement stating the flight school's policy regarding retaining student fees if a student withdraws.
g. A written statement regarding the transferability of credits, flight time and simulator time. Can this time be logged?
HERE ARE JET UNIVERSITY'S RESPONSIBILITIES TO THE STUDENTS AS REQUIRED BY LAW:
3. Jet University should have used a reliable method to access you before you were accepted into the Jet U program to determine your ability to successfully complete the program.
4. Jet University should have informed you about financial assistance and your obligation for the repayment of loans. They should have described the employee services provided and the limitations of such program. Jet U should NOT have guaranteed you a job or implied that there is a shortage of pilots. 1005.04 (c)
5. Jet U should have ensured that ALL advertisements are accurate and not misleading.
They are going to have a major problem here in that they advertise a JET even though they have no jet.
They advertise you can complete the program in 9 months even though no one has ever completed the program in 9 months.
They advertise part 141 training even though they are not a licensed part 141 flight school.
They advertise guaranteed job placement even though that is against this statue and there are about 120 of you right now that have not received the guaranteed jobs.
And then you have the "extra costs" issue.
6. Jet University must PUBLISH and FOLLOW an equitable prorated refund policy for ALL students and follow both the federal refund guidelines for students receiving federal financial assistance and the minimum refund guidelines set by the Florida Secondary Education rules.
7. Jet University much compile an annual report with respect to crime statistics and physical plant safety and make those reports available to the public.
8. Jet University must PUBLISH and FOLLOW procedures for handling student complaints, disciplinary actions and appeals.
The reason the state of Florida has these rules and laws in place to to prevent the type of problems that we are having at Jet University from happening. Jet University has totally disregarded the written law of the State of Florida.
Jet University is prohibited from using the word "University" in their name. But that does not seem to stop them from disregarding Florida law. Here is the Florida statute:
1005.03 Designation "college" or "university".--
(1) The use of the designation "college" or "university" in combination with any series of letters, numbers, or words is restricted in this state to colleges or universities as defined in s. 1005.02 that offer degrees as defined in s. 1005.02 and fall into at least one of the following categories:
(a) A Florida public college.
(b) A Florida or out-of-state college that has been in active operation and using the designation "college" or "university" since April 1, 1970.
(c) A college for which the commission has issued a license pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.
(d) A college that is under the jurisdiction of the Department of Education, eligible to participate in the William L. Boyd, IV, Florida Resident Access Grant Program and that is a nonprofit independent college or university located and chartered in this state and accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to grant baccalaureate degrees.
(e) A college that meets the description of either s. 1005.06(1)(e) or (f).
(2) If a college is approved under subsection (1) to use the designation "college" or "university," a branch or extension of that college may use the name of the parent college, but shall include an indication of the location of the branch or extension.
(3) Any entity offering post secondary educational courses or programs of study in Florida, whether or not college credit is awarded, shall be subject to the provisions of this section.
(4) An entity shall not use the designation "college" or "university" in its name in Florida without approval by the commission, unless the commission determines that its name is clearly and accurately descriptive of the services provided by the entity and is not one that may mislead the public.
History.--s. 246, ch. 2002-387; s. 102, ch. 2007-217.
The recent shutdowns of these major Florida flight schools show how lax the current regulations are for the flight school business in Florida.
1/29/09 Another Florida School shuts their doors leaving 140 students without their flight training. They had paid over $70,000 each. When are the Florida regulators going to wake up? There is another $10,000,000 down the drain.
Silver State collected $70,000 up front from thousands of students. When they closed without notice on February 3, 2008, 2500 students were out $70,000 and did not receive their flight training. There are now over 50 million dollars in student loans outstanding from Silver State. Silver State was located at the Ft Lauderdale Executive Airport.
Here is the wiki link:
Although Jet University has not closed, the students on the no fly list are currently in the same position as the Silver State students. The Silver State training facility in Fort Lauderdale was located less than 1/2 a mile from Jet U at KFXE.
TAB EXPRESS CLOSES DOORS IN 2005
On June 15, 2005, TAB EXPRESS in DeLand Florida suddenly shut their doors and 80 flight school students (that had paid up to $100,000 each) were not able to continue their paid in advance flight training. There is another 7 million dollars gone. Where are these millions of dollars going?
AIRLINE TRAINING ACADEMY DID THE SAME THING IN 2003
They say that history repeats itself. In February 2003, AIRLINE TRAINING ACADEMY in Orlando suddenly shut their doors leaving 200 students that had paid $60,000 each (in advance) without flight training.
A Bankruptcy was filed. By the time the case left the Bankruptcy court on October 31, 2006, the students (who were owed over 17 million dollars) received nothing.
WHERE IS THE REGULATION?
Where is the Florida State regulation that is supposed to protect us? Ten percent of all flight training in the US is conducted in Florida. This is because Florida has great weather and lots of airports. Why do the Florida lawmakers continue to ignore this industry while it takes 10's of millions of dollars from students without providing the contracted service?
WHAT TYPE OF REGULATION IS NEEDED?
1. Trust Accounts should be required that allow no more than $2500. at a time, to be transferred to the school. Students should be able to stop their training at anytime, without substantial penalty, and receive the unused portion of their money back.
2. There should be a cap on the number of instructors (and/or the number of students) for a part 61 training facility. If a training facility has over that cap then they should be only regulated under 141. Right now anyone can set up a flight school just by gathering together a bunch of flight instructors and it is perfectly legal. The problem with this is that the flight instructors are strictly teachers and do not have access or control over the management or money, yet those same instructors are fully responsible for anything that happens during flight training.
4. Part 141 regulations should require bonding, financial stability and also be regulated by the same state officials that regulate post secondary institutions as well as the FAA. The FAA should regulate the flights and the curriculum. The State should regulate the bonding, financial stability and consumer protection. The reason for this is because the FAA is not experienced in consumer protection issues.