Corinthian Colleges on Tuesday formally asked the U.S. Department of Education to reconsider its nearly $30 million fine of the defunct for-profit college chain, which officials accused of misrepresenting job placement rates.
The company argued that the Education Department unfairly rushed to "publicly impose severe punishment" without following proper procedures and that officials did not individually justify each of the 946 alleged instances of faulty job placement rates, according to part of the appeal viewed by Inside Higher Ed.
Corinthian said it was appealing the department's findings “on both substantive and procedural grounds.” The company also takes aim at department’s decision to impose the maximum possible penalty for each finding.
“Rather than examine each circumstance separately, as the law requires, the department indiscriminately lumps together broad categories of allegedly erroneous disclosures and seeks the imposition of the maximum allowable fine in each instance to reach its headline-grabbing sum of nearly $30 million in penalties,” the company writes in the appeal.
The Education Department last month sent Corinthian a 14-page letter of findings, accusing the company of “serious violations” of federal law and job placement disclosure rules at its California-based subsidiary, Heald College. For example, according to the letter, the college claimed that an accounting program graduate who worked behind the counter at Taco Bell had been successfully placed in her field.
The company filed for bankruptcy protection on Monday. Department officials have said they will continue to pursue the fine against the company.
In addition to submitting a written appeal on Tuesday, Corinthian also requested an administrative hearing.