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Education Department Denies For-Profit Law School's Reinstatement Application

May 14, 2021

The Florida Coastal School of Law's application for reinstatement to participate in federal student aid programs was denied by the Education Department's Office of Federal Student Aid for failure of financial responsibility standards and failing to meet the fiduciary standard of conduct and standards of participation.

The law school had a financial composite score of -1.0, the lowest possible score. The institution had significant debt and a financial statement disclosure that raised doubts about its ability to continue operating, according to the Department of Education. The accreditor for the college also found that the institution was failing to provide critical services that it advertises and wasn't meeting obligations to correctly determine student eligibility for federal aid programs.

"We are currently reviewing the letter with counsel and looking at our options," Peter Goplerud, dean and president of Florida Coastal School of Law, said in a statement. "We submitted a teach-out plan to the ABA last week and have been in preliminary contact with them concerning this denial. At this time, we are doing all we can to ensure our students receive the education they need to continue on their path to becoming attorneys."

Florida Coastal School of Law applied for reinstatement in April after the law school's officials refused to sign a contract with the Department of Education that expired March 31, which ended its participation in federal student aid programs. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said the department's actions are a part of holding for-profit schools accountable to students and taxpayers.

"Today we want to be heard and understood by for-profit schools around the country: we will be vigilant in ensuring they meet their commitments to students, families, and taxpayers," Cardona said in a statement.

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Alexis Gravely

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