University of Antelope Valley students say closed school took their funds

Leo Stallworth Image
Thursday, February 29, 2024
University of Antelope Valley students say school took their funds
After the University of Antelope Valley shut down, students say the school has withheld their financial-aid funds and engaged in other questionable financial tactics.

LANCASTER, Calif. (KABC) -- The University of Antelope Valley has shut down, leaving students scrambling - and some accusing the school of taking their money.

Some students tell Eyewitness News the school has been withholding financial aid funds they are owed.

UAV student Varinia Renttria says she's been begging the university for her financial aid money for nearly two years to pay rent and other bills and they simply won't give it to her. At this point she says she's owed a lot.

"They are stealing our money. They're stealing the financial aid money that's meant for students," Renttria said.

"There are girls who have requested it - October of last year who still haven't received it. For me it's $13,000. Imagine hundreds of students they've done that to. It all adds up."

Varinia says she just learned within the last week the university campus has completely shut down. Professors have quit their jobs and the school is only offering online instruction.

Former UAV employee Carmela Geronga says her heart breaks for students.

"Campus housing students will be displaced with nowhere to go," she said.

Eyewitness News visited the campus to find an administrator to comment but none were around. Many have apparently quit.

UAV baseball player Xavier Gilmore says luckily he lives off campus but he adds with the university refusing to give him and other players on partial athletic scholarships their financial aid checks, they have had to desperately seek other ways to feed and house themselves. That includes receiving public assistance.

"We have to do what we can," Gilmore said. "You know some of us have EBT to help us with food and whatnot."

Xavier says despite winning the Cal Pac championship for their conference last season, the university has told them if they want to continue playing they need to raise upwards of $50,000 for the season."

Carlos Martinez said he quit his job as a bursar responsible for student financial accounts. He was disgusted with the school withholding funds from students and mismanaging money.

"They would not give it to the students," he said. "They would use the students to pay their bills or whatever else so yeah they would steal their money."

The school was purchased by Genius Group Limited in 2022. The Singapore-based firm describes itself as a "a global Edtech and education company with over 4.3 million students in over 200 countries."

We reached out to Roger Hamilton, CEO of the Genius Group, and we have not yet received a response.