JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Charlotte
School of Law in North Carolina recently was denied federal
student-loan funding, which is affecting its current and prospective
students — with some of the students having been encouraged to
transfer to a sister school in Florida, according to a law-school transparency official.
According to a report
on Above the Law, the Charlotte School of Law recently was denied
federal funding by the Department of Education, which means students
currently enrolled will not receive any monetary assistance from the
federal government. This includes any current student loans.
According to a report
the school's federal funding was pulled after it was found to not be
in compliance with American Bar Association standards.
“Today’s action denies CSL’s request to be recertified to
continue its participation in the federal student-aid programs.
Effective Dec. 31, 2016, CSL’s participation in those programs will
end, and beginning Jan. 1, 2017, students may no longer use federal
student aid to attend the school,” the Department of Education said
in a Dec. 19, 2016 news release.
Classes started at the school on Jan.
23, according to a story
by the Charlotte Observer, despite the school having laid off
approximately two-thirds of its faculty members and having students
and classes offered reduced.
“It’s not clear what is actually happening. It’s a complete
lack of information,” Kyle McEntee, executive director with Law
School Transparency, told the Florida Record.
McEntee said that since Charlotte is not taking any new students
who pay with student loans, the college is encouraging them to seek
education at Florida Coastal School of Law, its sister school in
“Florida Coastal was cited as a location to basically send the
students who would not be graduating this May,” McEntee said.
He said that the dean of Florida Coastal sent out a letter saying
“they are not interested” in acquiring these transfer students.
“Both schools are owned by the same company, so the director
might say Florida has to take students,” he said.
This all happened after an October meeting where the Charlotte
School of Law “got put on probation and right after that the
Department of Education withdrew the school's Title IV funds,”
In addition to Charlotte transferring students, there is also a
class-action lawsuit from the students and graduates fighting against
Charlotte Law and Infinilaw, the company that owns the college and
Florida Coastal, according to the company's website.
“Infinilaw has three law schools and is owned by Sterling
Partners, a private-equity firm in Chicago. The students are suing
the parties involved for misrepresentation related to the failure to
disclose certain things,” McEntee said. “Failure to disclose that
the school was not going to be fully credited and they knew better.”
The Department of Education noted
on its website many actions it took prior to taking away federal
“The ABA first informed CSL of its non-compliance in February
2016, and did so again in July 2016,” Ted Mitchell, U.S.
undersecretary of education, said on the website. “On both
occasions, the school failed to disclose this finding to current and
prospective students, despite its admission that the information
would have a profound impact on their enrollment decisions.”
McEntee said the students and graduates are upset because of the
lack of information given to them. “As a result of the lack of
transparency, they relied on what info they did know and chose to be
enrolled,” he said.
However, Florida Coastal is dealing
with its own problems with student-loan access.
The Florida-Times Union reported
on Jan. 26 that the school had failed a Department of Education
report that measures the debt-to-income ratios of the college's
graduates. Another failure next year could hurt the school's ability
to get access to the federal student-loan program. The school is
appealing the results.