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The Board of Trustees at Eastern Gateway Community College in Ohio announced Wednesday that registration and enrollment will be paused for terms beyond the current spring semester due to ongoing financial struggles, according to Ideastream Public Media.

The decision comes a little over a month after federal, state and local law enforcement authorities executed a search warrant on the campus related to “concerns about financial irregularities.” And two former college leaders were indicted in August for misusing college credit cards, WFMJ reported.

The halt in enrollment also follows the shuttering of a controversial free college benefit for union members last summer, after the U.S. Department of Education alleged the college violated federal financial aid rules by subsidizing students who were ineligible for Pell Grants. 

The college has been on probation since 2021, when its accreditor, the Higher Learning Commission, said that rapid growth as a result of the free benefit program hurt the quality of the courses the college offered.

Board chair James M. Gasior said during a board meeting Wednesday that the pause on enrollment and registration would give the college an opportunity “to evaluate options as a result of ongoing difficulties, partly due to delayed federal funding.”

“We have a plan to ensure students finish this semester as normal,” Gasior said in a press release distributed after the meeting. “And while we pause registration for the summer and beyond, Youngstown State University primarily and community colleges from throughout the region have offered to welcome our students, provide continuity, and allow students to continue their programs of study as seamlessly as possible for their next semester.”

The Ohio Department of Higher Education said in a press release that the community colleges that will accept Eastern Gateway students include Stark State College, Belmont College, Washington State College of Ohio, Cuyahoga Community College and Hocking College.