FOIA

Use of Enforcement Authority

In order to safeguard federal student aid dollars, the U.S. Department of Education has the authority to engage in enforcement actions against institutions of higher education and their third-party servicers when institutions or third-party servicers violate Title IV program requirements. In an effort to protect students and taxpayers, Student Defense has sought information related to enforcement actions taken against institutions or third-party servicers under the Trump administration and previously.

FOIA Requests

 

Communications and Documents Regarding Compliance Audits - July 25, 2018

Seeking: Student Defense submitted FOIA requests asking for:

  1. communications informing schools or compliance auditors that a Title IV compliance audit submitted to the Department was rejected; and

  2. documents constituting certain “input and feedback” that the Office of Inspector General provided to the Department regarding how to address compliance audits with quality problems.

Documents 

On August 29, 2018, the Department provided an interim response to Part A. Those documents are available here. 

On September 13, 2018, the Department provided its Final Response to Part A. Student Defense agreed to accept a summary spreadsheet in lieu of documents.That spreadsheet is available here.

On August 23, 2018, the Office of the Inspector General provided a Final Response to Part B. Those documents are available here.

 

Details on Substantial Misrepresentation Findings - July 31, 2018

Seeking: Documents the Department explicitly mentioned when it brought a fine action against Hondros College in 2015. Additionally, documents the Department used to justify its denial of World Medicine Institute’s application for recertification in 2017.

Documents

The Department has not yet provided documents in response to this request. 

 

Final Audit Determinations for Western Governors University and Colorado Technical University - December 4, 2018

Seeking: Federal Student Aid’s Final Audit Determinations for Western Governors University and Colorado Technical University. These documents are related to the “regular and substantive interaction” requirement for distance education programs offered by institutions participating in Title IV of the Higher Education Act. 

Documents: 

On May 24, 2019 the Department provided a Final Response to the request regarding Colorado Technical University. The documents are available here.

 

Findings re: Institutions’ Compliance with Distance Education under Title IV - December 4, 2018

Seeking: All documents constituting Final Program Review Determinations or Final Audit Determinations issued by Federal Student Aid from 2012 to the present that contain the term “regular and substantive interaction.” 

Documents

On September 26, 2019 the Department provided a Final Response. The documents are available here. (large file)



Records of Department of Education’s use of Subpoena Power - December 6, 2018

Seeking: All administrative subpoenas issued by the Secretary of Education, or the Secretary’s delegee, pursuant to her authority under the Higher Education Act, in order to assist with the Department’s investigations of possible Title IV violations.

Documents

The Department has not yet provided documents in response to this request.

 

The Department of Education’s Use of Debarments and Suspensions to Prevent Title IV Violations - December 18, 2018

Seeking: All notices of debarment and all notices of suspension issued to an individual or entity participating in Title IV programs under the Higher Education Act.

Documents 

On January 9, 2019 the Department provided a Final Response. On January 10, 2019 Student Defense filed an administrative appeal of that Final Response. 

 

Use of Enforcement Power to Limit Institutions and Servicers Participating in Title IV Programs - December 19, 2018 

Seeking: All documents constituting notice to either higher education institutions or third-party servicers of its intent to limit it participating in Title IV programs by the Secretary, pursuant to her  authority under the Higher Education Act.

Documents

On February 11, 2019 the Department responded with a set of documents available here. 

 

ED’s Termination of Institutions’ and Third-Party Servicers’ Title IV Eligibility - December 24, 2018

Seeking: All documents constituting notices to institutions of higher education or third-party servicers of the Department’s intent to terminate the authority of any such entity to participate in Title IV programs.

Documents

The Department has not yet provided documents in response to this request. 

 

Notices of Beginning Emergency Actions Against Institutions or Third-Party Servicers - January 2, 2019

Seeking: All documents constituting notice of the Department’s intent to begin an “emergency action” against either an institution of higher education participating in Title IV programs or a third-party servicer contracting with such an institution.

Documents

On July 2, 2019 the Department provided responsive documents, which are available here. 

 

Notices of Intent to Begin Fine Proceedings - January 15, 2019

Seeking: All documents constituting notice to either institutions of higher education or third-party servicers of its intent to begin fine proceedings by the Secretary, pursuant to her authority under the Higher Education Act.

Documents

On April 16, 2019 the Department provided responsive documents, which are available here (114 MB pdf).