The Department of Education recently announced the establishment of the Office of Enforcement within Federal Student Aid. Led by Kristen Donoghue, former enforcement director at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Office of Enforcement will “proactively identify and address major problems across institutions that pose widespread risks to students and taxpayers.”
The Office of Enforcement will comprise four existing divisions: (1) Administrative Actions and Services Group; (2) Borrower Defense Group; (3) Investigations Group; and (4) Resolution and Referral Management Group.
The Department’s multipronged approach presents substantial risks to any institution found to be out of compliance with state or federal requirements. For example, the Investigations Group and Resolution and Referral Management Group both intend to work collaboratively with other agencies such as the CFPB, FTC, Department of Justice, and state attorneys general to identify “indicators of misconduct” and investigate and resolve instances of noncompliance with laws, regulations, and terms of program participation.
Thus, findings of noncompliance anywhere can lead to multi-front investigations and enforcement proceedings across multiple agencies and oversight bodies. This means that institutions now more than ever need to have robust internal practices and checks to ensure compliance with all state, federal, and accreditation requirements.
At Gombos Leyton, we have helped many of our higher education clients create systems and polices that them to uncover and resolve areas of noncompliance before they lead to costly proceedings down the road. Contact any of our experienced attorneys to see how we can help your school do the same.