Win for Ashford in Fight Over GI Bill Eligibility

September 9, 2016

Iowa's Department of Education last week dropped its opposition to a request by Ashford University for more time to resolve a challenge to the for-profit university's eligibility to receive students' Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits, according to an email the company distributed to employees on Thursday. The Iowa agency will not decide whether to withdrawal Ashford's GI Bill eligibility until after a judge rules on a lawsuit the university filed to prevent that action, said Staci Hupp, a spokeswoman for the department.

The university enrolls roughly 6,250 military and veteran students. In May the Iowa agency ruled that Ashford would need to register in California, where the for-profit is now based, to continue its GI Bill eligibility. Ashford sued to block the move, citing its continuing presence in Iowa. The company also released emails from an Iowa official, which it secured as part of a lawsuit, in which the official said the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and two California agencies had improperly meddled in Iowa's decision to terminate Ashford's eligibility.

Ashford's CEO, Andrew S. Clark, said in the Thursday email that the Iowa agency's decision means the university will be able to continue accepting GI Bill benefits for the "full length of time" needed to resolve the legal dispute. "We anticipate that this process, and related court proceedings, could take approximately 10 months to complete," he said.

Hupp said the goal of the agency's decision last week was to "make sure that veterans receive their tuition benefits without interuption."

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