Two for-profit colleges in Minnesota, already the target of a lawsuit filed by the state's attorney general, were put on probation by the Department of Defense, restricting their enrollment of new students using certain types of federal military assistance, the Star tribune reports.
Globe University and the Minnesota School of Business, which are held under the same ownership, were both found to be not in compliance with the Department of Defense's Voluntary Education Partnership Memorandum of Understanding, the paper reports.
The memorandum, according to the DOD FAQ, essentially provides guidelines to all institutions of higher learning that accept military students who use the Military Tuition Assistance program. The universities must sign the Memorandum of Understanding in order to be eligible for the Military Tuition Assistance funds.
Among the requirements for the institution:
- Will provide meaningful information to students about the financial cost and attendance at an institution so military students can make informed decisions on where to attend school.
- Will not use unfair, deceptive, and abusive recruiting practices.
- Will provide academic and student support services to service members and their families.
The Star Tribune says it's not clear why specifically Globe and the School of Business were put on probation.
On Wednesday, Globe University announced it was named a 2015 Military Friendly School by Victory Media, a program designed to "provide service members the transparent, accurate information they need to make decisions about post-military opportunities," according to the Victory Media website.
Attorney general's lawsuit
Both are being sued by the state's attorney general, Lori Swanson, for what a July news release described as "misrepresenting the job opportunities available to their criminal justice graduates and misleading students about the transferability of their credits to other higher education institutions."
It continued: "Some students who enrolled at the schools were saddled with tens of thousands of dollars of debt without the ability afterwards to obtain jobs in their chosen career fields."
Globe and the School of Business told the Star Tribune the DOD's probation decision was "a direct reaction" to that lawsuit.
Officials with the schools issued a statement when the lawsuit was announced, denying Swanson’s claims.
“The claims that our admissions practices and credit transfer policies are deceptive could not be further from the truth,” it said.
The DOD's FAQ explains what the probationary status means. Essentially, means the schools can't accept new students using the Military Tuition Assistance program.
"While in a Probation status, the educational institution is NOT authorized to sign up new students using military tuition assistance. However, they may continue to support their existing military TA students."
The FAQ gives a few examples of non-compliance reasons a university would be placed on probation, including loss of accreditation, Title IV/VA disapproval or a complaint receipt.
Globe University and the Minnesota School of Business serve more than 11,000 students on campuses in five states and online. The schools are jointly headquartered in Woodbury, and operate campuses in Blaine, Brooklyn Center, Elk River, Lakeville, Minneapolis, Moorhead, Plymouth, Richfield, Rochester, Shakopee and Woodbury, with seven campuses in Wisconsin and one in Sioux Falls.
You can see a list of participating institutions in Minnesota on this Department of Defense website. Globe and the School of Business are the only two universities in the state listed as being on probation. In all, there are 72 institutions – not including related additional locations – participating in the program in Minnesota, the site says.