On February 20, 2024, the California Court of Appeal largely affirmed an eight-figure judgment against Ashford University (“Ashford”), an on-line, for-profit college, and its parent company, Zovio, Inc. (formerly Bridgepoint Education) for violations based on false and misleading statements to prospective students. Ashford and Zovio had not challenged the trial court’s liability determination, but sought review and reduction of the penalty awarded in that action.… Continue Reading

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau highlighted its observations of the resumption of federal student loan payments by consumers after more than three years of a payment moratorium due to COVID-19 in a report released on January 5, 2024. The report, titled “Issue Spotlight: Federal Student Loan Return to Repayment,” highlights several issues it maintains are confronting consumers, including extended call hold times, processing delays in income-driven repayment applications, and inaccurate billing and disclosure statements.… Continue Reading

The White House signaled last week that, with the resumption of federal student loan payments, federal student loan servicers can expect to face increased scrutiny. The Department of Education issued a “Framework for Student Loan Servicer Oversight and Accountability to Protect Borrowers” and indicated that “[t]he framework’s strategies help the Department to encourage servicers to better support borrowers and allows the Department to hold their feet to the fire when they have servicing failures.”… Continue Reading

The CFPB recently released a report regarding higher education tuition payment plans that discusses prevailing practices and highlights certain CFPB concerns regarding consumer impact. The CFPB’s report was based upon (a) a review of hundreds of postsecondary school and college websites that contain publicly available information on tuition plans and related contracts, (b) consumer complaints submitted to the CFPB and Department of Education, and (c) interviews with consumers and meetings with industry participants.… Continue Reading

Less than six weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court held that President Biden lacked authority to advance his signature effort to forgive upwards of $430 billion in federal student loans, a new challenge has been filed to other major elements of his higher-education agenda.  On August 4, 2023, the Cato Institute and Mackinac Center for Public Policy filed suit in the Eastern District of Michigan, alleging that the U.S.… Continue Reading

On May 17, 2023, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking intended to increase transparency regarding the costs and financial outcomes of postsecondary programs. The centerpiece of the proposed regulations is a Gainful Employment (“GE”) Rule, which would terminate access to federal financial aid for career training programs that fail to meet federal benchmarks.… Continue Reading

On December 12, 2022, the Supreme Court announced that it would grant a petition for certiorari as to the separate loan-forgiveness challenge pending before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and calendar the matter for argument in February 2023.

On December 1, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court granted a writ of certiorari to consider the standing of the plaintiffs who obtained an an injunction from the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals that currently prevents the Biden Administration from enacting its plan to forgive approximately $400 billion in federal student loans. … Continue Reading

On December 1, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court addressed an application by the Biden Administration to vacate an injunction entered by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals that currently prevents the administration from enacting its plan to forgive approximately $400 billion in federal student loans.  Justice Kavanagh—the designated Justice for certain emergency appeals from the Eighth Circuit—referred the Administration’s application to the full Court, which, on its own initiative, converted the application to a petition for writ of certiorari before judgment and granted the petition. … Continue Reading

Having stood up and promoted the whistleblower program at the CFPB, it appears that Richard Cordray may now be taking similar steps at Federal Student Aid (“FSA”).  On November 10, the Department of Education (“ED”) and FSA issued a bulletin inviting whistleblowers to provide information about potential violations of the Higher Education Act (“HEA”) and its implementing regulations. … Continue Reading

The U.S. Department of Education recently announced final regulations, effective July 1, 2023, designed to expand and improve the major student loan discharge programs authorized by the Higher Education Act.  Among other things, the final regulations prohibit institutions that participate in the Federal Direct Loan program from requiring borrowers to sign mandatory pre-dispute arbitration agreements or class-action waivers that would be applicable to disputes about Direct Loans. … Continue Reading