FOIA

Financial Responsibility

 

 

The U.S. Department of Education is required by statute to monitor and evaluate the financial stability of higher education institutions that receive Title IV federal student aid funding. The Department's analysis of a school’s financial health is represented by the annually produced financial composite score.

FOIA Requests

 

Letters of Credit Held by the Department of Education - March 7, 2022

Seeking: A detailed log that provides information regarding every letter of credit held by the Department as of February 28, 2022 that has been posted by, or on behalf of, any institution participating in one or more Title IV, HEA programs.

Documents

On October 17, 2022, the Department of Education provided a Final Response to this request. The responsive document is available here.

 

Unpaid Liabilities Referred to Department of Treasury - February 4, 2022

Seeking: (1) Documents sufficient to show all debts referred to Treasury by the Department of Education for collection, from January 1, 2017 through present, as well as the current status of each debt or collection effort. This request is limited to include only documents regarding referral of debts owed to Education and/or the U.S. Government by institutions of higher education, their affiliates, owners, shareholders, or executives, for actions stemming from an institution’s participation in the Title IV student aid programs. This request excludes records reflecting individual student borrower debts. (2) Documents sufficient to show all debts referred to the Department of Justice (“Justice”) by Treasury for collection, litigation, or settlement, from January 1, 2017 through present, as well as the current status of each debt or collection effort. This request is limited to include only those debts that have been referred to Justice that stem from an institution of higher education’s participation in one or more programs authorized by Title IV of the Higher Education Act. This request includes records related to debts owed by institutions of higher education (including their affiliates, owners, shareholders, or executives) for actions stemming from an institution’s Title IV participation, but excludes records related to individual student loans.

Documents

On March 1, 2022, the Department of Treasury provided a final response letter noting that they did not have any documents responsive to this request. 

 

Letters of Credit Held by the Department of Education - January 13, 2022

Seeking: A detailed log that provides information regarding every letter of credit held by the Department as of December 31, 2021 that has been posted by, or on behalf of, any institution participating in one or more Title IV, HEA programs.

Documents

On October 18, 2022, the Department of Education provided a Final Response to this request. The responsive document is available here.

 

Unpaid Liabilities Referred to Department of Justice - December 28, 2021

Seeking: (1) Documents sufficient to show all debts referred to Justice by the Department of Education for collection, litigation, or settlement, from January 1, 2017 through present, as well as the current status of each debt or collection effort. This request is limited to include only documents regarding referral of debts owed to Education and/or the U.S. Government by institutions of higher education, their affiliates, owners, shareholders, or executives, for actions stemming from an institution’s participation in the Title IV student aid programs. This request excludes records reflecting individual student borrower debts. (2) Documents sufficient to show all debts referred to Justice by Treasury for collection, litigation, or settlement, from January 1, 2017 through present, as well as the current status of each debt or collection effort. This request is limited to include only those debts that have been referred to Justice that stem from an institution of higher education’s participation in one or more programs authorized by Title IV of the Higher Education Act. This request includes records related to debts owed by institutions of higher education (including their affiliates, owners, shareholders, or executives) for actions stemming from an institution’s Title IV participation, but excludes records related to individual student loans. 

Documents

On May 18, 2022, the Department of Justice produced a document with the requested data. That document is available here

 

Letters of Credit Held by the Department of Education - December 2, 2021

Seeking: A detailed log that provides information regarding every letter of credit held by the Department as of November 30, 2021 that has been posted by, or on behalf of, any institution participating in one or more Title IV, HEA programs.

Documents

The Department initially failed to produce any documents responsive to this request, as required by law. After Student Defense sued the Department in federal court, on May 17, 2022 the Department provided a final response letter and a document with responsive data. That document is available here


Documents Regarding Recertifications, Collected Liabilities, and Letters of Credit - July 7, 2021

Seeking: In July 2021, Student Defense submitted multiple FOIA requests for data regarding schools participating in Title IV, HEA programs, including:

Documents

On September 29, 2021, the Department produced a set of responsive documents, which are available here.  


Pre-Acquisition Letters Responding to Requests for Approval of Change of Ownership and/or Control - July 2, 2021

Seeking: Copies of all pre-acquisition letters or other documents the Department has sent to institutions approving, denying or otherwise responding to the institutions’ notification of or request for approval for a change of ownership and/or control, for the period between January 1, 2016 and February 8, 2021. 

Documents

On July 15, 2021, the Department produced a set of responsive documents, which are available here

 

Documents Regarding La'James International College Cosmetology Hybrid Program - June 22, 2021

Seeking: Any records relating to the Department’s May 2019 decision to halt processing of HCM2 requests for students enrolled in La’James International College’s Hybrid Cosmetology Program until the program’s eligibility could be determined. This includes all correspondence between the Department and La’James regarding this decision, as well as any subsequent agreements and correspondence between La’James and the Department regarding funding for this program. This request includes all documentation related to program reviews of LJIC, any annual compliance audits, and any resulting final audit or program review determinations that pertain to the Hybrid Cosmetology Program.

Documents

The Department initially failed to produce any documents responsive to this request, as required by law. After Student Defense sued the Department in federal court, the Department provided a set of responsive documents. Those documents are available here.

  

FSA Change-in-Ownership Manual - May 20, 2021

Seeking: A copy of the most recent version of the Federal Student Aid (“FSA”) Change-in-Ownership Guidance manual or any comparable or successor manual used by FSA analysts and staff.

Documents

On May 27, 2021 the Department produced the responsive document, which is available here


FSA Procedures Manual - May 20, 2021

Seeking: Copies of the most recent versions of the Federal Student Aid (“FSA”) Eligibility Procedures manual, FSA Financial Analysis Procedures manual, FSA Program Review Procedures manual, and FSA Compliance Audit Procedures manual or any successor manuals used by FSA analysts and staff.

Documents

On May 28, 2021 the Department produced the responsive document, which is available here

 

Records of La'James International College Compliance Audits - February 28, 2020

Seeking: Any records from 2014 to the present relating to annual compliance audits of La’James International College, including the annual compliance audits submitted to the  Department, any final audit determinations related to those annual compliance audits, and any communications about the annual compliance audits or the final audit determinations.

Documents

The Department initially failed to produce any documents responsive to this request, as required by law. After Student Defense sued the Department in federal Court, the Office of Inspector General confirmed that it did not have "any responsive documents." 

 

 

Records of La'James International College Financial Audits - February 25, 2020

Seeking: Any records relating to financial audits of La’James International College, including audited financial statements, communications about financial audits, and communications about letters of credit.

Documents

The Department initially failed to produce any responsive documents, as required by law. After Student Defense sued the Department in federal court, the Department provided a series of sets of responsive documents. Those documents are available here:


Documents Regarding Unpaid Liabilities Owed to the Department of Education - February 8, 2021

Seeking: In February 2021, Student Defense began submitting a series of FOIA requests for complete listings of all institutions with unpaid liabilities to the Department stemming from closures or compliance and enforcement actions for the following time periods:

Documents

On April 15, 2021, the Department produced a set of responsive documents to the first request, which are available here

On July 29, 2021, the Department produced a set of responsive documents to the second request, which are available here. On August 4, 2021, the Department produced a slightly different set of responsive documents to the same request, which are available here.

The Department initially failed to produce any documents responsive to requests 3–7, as required by law. After Student Defense sued the Department in federal court, the Department provided final response letters and a set of responsive documents. Those documents are available here.

 

Change in Ownership Applications - February 5, 2021

Seeking: All change in ownership applications or change in control applications submitted to the Department from January 1, 2017, to the date of this request.

Documents

On June 22, 2021 the Department produced a set of responsive documents, which are available here

 

Letters of Credit Held by the Department of Education - August 14, 2020

Seeking: A detailed log that provides information regarding every letter of credit currently held by the Department that has been posted by, or on behalf of, any institution participating in one or more Title IV, HEA programs.

Documents

On January 22, 2021 the Department provided a Final Response to this request. The responsive document is available here.


Letters of Credit Held by the Department of Education - January 30, 2020

Seeking: A copy of every letter of credit currently held by the Department that has been posted by, or on behalf of, any institution participating in one or more Title IV, HEA programs as well as a copy of every communication from the Department wherein the Department requested or demanded an institution to post a letter of credit that is currently held by the Department.

Documents: After a series of monthly productions, the Department provided a final response letter on December 29, 2020

 

Documents Regarding La'James International College HCM2 Status - December 17, 2019

Seeking: Student Defense requested five subsets of documents pertaining to the Department's decision to place La'James International College on Heightened Cash Monitoring II Status:

  1. All records relating to ED’s 2015 program review of LJIC’s Des Moines, Fort Dodge, and Cedar Falls campuses.
  2. All records regarding ED’s determination to place LJIC on HCM2 status beginning on September 1, 2017.
  3. Any supporting documentation provided by LJIC to ED from September 1, 2017, to the present as part of its HCM2 submissions, including but not limited to, “a list of all graduated and withdrawn students, organized by campus location for whom LJIC has not posted earned Title IV, HEA program funds.”
  4. All records from September 1, 2017, to the present regarding the annual compliance audits conducted by an independent auditor regarding LJIC’s compliance with the cash monitoring requirements, including any supporting documentation.
  5. All records from January 1, 2017, to the present relating to any complaints received regarding LJIC, including complaints filed by Ashley Coers, Jenna (or Jeanna) Holmes, and Philip McFatridge.

Documents

On May 13, 2020, the Department produced a set of responsive documents. These documents are available here

 

Documents Regarding Borrower Defense Notifications - May 15, 2019

Seeking: Student Defense submitted multiple FOIA requests, on May 15, 2019 and May 21, 2019, for documents pertaining to the Department’s March 15, 2019 Announcement detailing implementation of the 2016 Borrower Defense Rule. See 81 Fed. Reg. 75,926 (Nov. 1, 2016). Specifically, these FOIA requests asked for copies of notifications sent from institutions of higher education to the Department, and documents constituting comments submitted by any member of the public on the guidance contained in the Announcement.

On October 30, 2019 Student Defense sued the Department of Education to force the release of these documents.

Documents

The Department of Education provided a series of monthly productions of responsive documents. Documents obtained are available here:

 

Letters of Credit Held by the Department of Education - March 21, 2018

Seeking: A copy of every letter of credit currently held by the Department that has been posted by, or on behalf of, any institution participating in Title IV HEA programs as well as a copy of every communication from the Department wherein the Department requested an institution to post a letter of credit that is currently held by the Department. 

Documents

On July 16, 2018 Student Defense sued to force the release of the documents. On January 16, 2019 and April 24, 2020 the Department produced responsive documents.  


Documents Regarding ED's Oversight of Title IV Schools’ Financial Health & Financial Responsibility Composite Scores - December 11, 2018

Seeking: Communication records from the Department to all institutions of higher education informing such institutions of their financial responsibility composite score for any fiscal year ending between July 2016 and June 2017 as well July 2017 and June 2018.

Documents

On September 21, 2020 the Department produced a set of responsive documents. (1 GB pdf)