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An Iowa District Court has dismissed a petition by Ashford University, asking that the Iowa State Approving Agency allow Ashford's online programs to be eligible for GI Bill benefits.

The ruling comes after the Iowa approving agency denied the institution's use of GI Bill benefits last year due to a decision Ashford made in 2015 to close down its physical campus in Clinton, Iowa. A dispute between the Iowa agency and Ashford followed over whether or not the for-profit would continue having a physical presence in the state.

"This is a state decision. Ashford University has been in communication with the Iowa Department of Education regarding further administrative proceedings. We are also actively exploring a variety of options, including seeking reconsideration by the state court and a possible appeal, and we are communicating with various stakeholders to ensure continuation of education benefits for our veteran students," said Vickie Schray, executive vice president of regulatory affairs and public policy for Bridgepoint Education, Ashford's parent company, in a statement.

After the ruling, the Veterans Administration sent a notification to Ashford's more than 5,000 military students about the status of their GI Bill education benefits and warned them that their benefits could be interrupted if Ashford isn't approved to administer the benefits. However, Ashford said the details they were given by the VA were inaccurate and the for-profit is in ongoing discussions with the federal and state agencies to continue offering military education benefits.