Dept. of Education will no longer allow financial aid to Charlotte School of Law

- The Charlotte School of Law has been denied continued access to Federal Student Aid Dollars.

The U.S. Department of Education announced on Monday that on December 31, 2016 it will end access to federal student financial aid for Charlotte School of Law(CSL).

The Dept. of Education said this action furthers the Department’s commitment to vigorously protect students, safeguard taxpayer dollars, and increase institutional accountability among postsecondary institutions.

The department concluded that the school of law's non-compliance with the fundamental standards set by its accreditor, the American Bar Association (ABA), resulted in its violation of the Higher Education Act, the Department’s regulations, and CSL’s Program Participation Agreement with the Department. Additionally, the Department concluded that CSL made substantial misrepresentations to current and prospective students regarding the nature and extent of its accreditation and the likelihood that its graduates would pass the bar exam. Both findings merit denial of the school’s request for continued participation in the federal student aid programs, according to the department.

RELATED: American Bar Association places Charlotte School of Law on probation

“The ABA repeatedly found that the Charlotte School of Law does not prepare students for participation in the legal profession. Yet CSL continuously misrepresented itself to current and prospective students as hitting the mark," said U.S. Under Secretary of Education Ted Mitchell. “CSL’s actions were misleading and dishonest. We can no longer allow them continued access to federal student aid.”

On Nov. 14, 2016, the ABA announced that CSL was placed on probation, citing the school’s non-compliance with several standards necessary to maintain its accreditation with the ABA, including the requirements of:

  • Maintaining a rigorous program of legal education that prepares its students, upon graduation, for admission to the bar and for effective, ethical, and responsible participation as members of the legal profession.
  • Maintaining sound admission policies that are consistent with the school’s mission, and the objectives of the school’s program of legal education; and,
  • Refraining from admitting applicants who do not appear capable of satisfactorily completing its program of legal education and being admitted to the bar.

The department said the ABA first informed CSL of its non-compliance in February 2016 and in July 2016. On both occasions, the school failed to disclose the finding to current and prospective students, according to the department. The ABA afforded CSL two opportunities to provide evidence and oral testimony of its compliance with the ABA’s standards, according to the department. On both occasions, the ABA affirmed its determination of CSL’s non-compliance, and in October 2016 placed CSL on probation.

Monday’s action denies CSL’s request to be recertified to continue its participation in the federal student aid programs. Effective Dec. 31, 2016, CSL’s participation in those programs will end, and beginning Jan. 1, 2017, students may no longer use federal student aid to attend the school, according to the department.

Statement from Charlotte School of Law: 

"This morning the Charlotte School of Law received an unexpected letter from the Department of Education informing us that our Title IV eligibility for federal student loans would be ending on December 31, 2016. We had no warning of this change in the eligibility status of the School and no opportunity to communicate with the DOE prior to its letter or the public announcement. 

The DOE letter is primarily based on the American Bar Association decision of November 14, 2016 to place the Charlotte of Law on probation, but ignores the fact that the School remains ABA accredited while it is on probation and working to take steps to address the issues in the probation action. 

The Charlotte School of Law is working intensively to respond to the DOE and, most importantly, protect our students."

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