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Education Department Increases Oversight of Eastern Gateway Community College

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Dive briefs:

  • The U.S. Department of Education announced Tuesday it had imposed new restrictions on Eastern Gateway Community College’s ability to receive federal funding, slashing the Ohio institution’s finances after a public dispute erupted over its free college program. Enhanced surveillance.
  • Eastern Gateway is now on the Enhanced Cache Monitoring 2 list. Also called HCM2Institutions on that list are no longer eligible to receive Title IV student financial aid funding by requesting advance from the Department of Education before making payments. Instead, they must prepay federal financial aid expenditures from their own institutional accounts and request reimbursement from the government.
  • According to a statement, the Department of Education placed Eastern Gateway in HCM2 “to ensure proper documentation is in place prior to disbursement of federal financial aid.” A spokeswoman for Eastern Gateway did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday afternoon.

Dive Insight:

In July, the Department of Education and the Eastern Gateway publicly disagreed over a much-hyped free college program. Eastern Gateway has called the program its Last Dollar Initiative, built on partnerships with unions, but federal regulators will bill the government for students who receive Pell scholarships and bill non-Pell students. I suggested not.

The Last Dollar program uses other funding sources to pay for the remainder of a student’s education. Federal Pell Grants are offered to students who demonstrate a high level of financial need.

by letter, the Department of Education argued that students who received Pell Grant and state financial aid funds had the money applied to their bills and the remaining fees zeroed out by scholarships. Students who did not have their balances reduced to zero. But the ministry said outside institutions actually offer few scholarships, in contrast to what the university said the program was run.

The university’s president, Michael Geoghegan, disputes that analysis.But still the university stated on July 27 Since we are not accepting new students into our free college programs and are seeking responses from the department, we only distribute Pell Grant funds to students who have already enrolled.

Eastern Gateway points to the free college program, launched in 2015, as a key factor in the strong increase in enrollment. In 2015-2016, the personnel of the institution was 4,808 he. According to financial documentsThat increased to 40,637 by 2019-20.

The university enrolled more than 45,000 students last year, 70% part-time and 95% taking distance learning, according to federal government data.

Tuesday’s action will not affect which students are eligible to attend the Eastern Gateway, according to the Department of Education.

“UEven under these circumstances, schools must ensure that students receive financial assistance in a timely manner,” the education ministry said in a statement. He will continue to work closely with the EGCC to ensure full compliance with its treatment of eligible students for federal Pell Grants. “

Colleges can be put on the high cash watch list for a number of reasons. According to the Ministry of EducationThey include issues related to accreditation, financial statements, audits, and “refusal of reaccreditation, concerns about the ability of the school to manage, concerns about the financial responsibility of the school, and significant findings revealed during the program review.” “It is included.