Charlotte School of Law responds to Dept. of Education's decision to end financial aid

Updated: Dec. 20, 2016 at 11:52 AM EST
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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The Charlotte School of Law responded Tuesday to the Department of Education's accusations of "dishonest" practices and their decision to stop providing financial aid to CSL students.

The school says the Department of Education notified them Monday that their application for recertification was denied and that their eligibility regarding financial aid would end on Dec. 31.

RELATED: Dept. of Education accuses Charlotte School of Law of dishonest practices, stops supplying financial aid

"We strongly disagree with this determination and are evaluating all available options to challenge the decision, particularly the Department of Education's mischaracterization of CharlotteLaw's academic accreditation from the American Bar Association (ABA) and our representation of that status," Charlotte School of Law said Tuesday.

The Department of Education said Monday that they concluded that Charlotte School of Law's non-compliance with standards set by its accreditor, the American Bar Association, "resulted in its violation of the Higher Education Act, the department's regulations and CSL's Program Participation Agreement with the Department."

The department says it took the action because the school failed to meet the standards of the ABA while making "substantial misrepresentations to current and prospective students" about its standing and the "likelihood that its graduates would pass the bar exam."

Starting Jan. 1, students can no longer use federal assistance to attend the school.

"CharlotteLaw will continue to work closely with the ABA to seek clarification on this unprecedented decision and we will preserve all avenues of appeal and recourse available to us," the school responded. " We will continue to put the best interests of our students first and foremost as we assess our options going forward."

The Department of Education maintains the ABA repeatedly found the Charlotte School of Law does not prepare students for participation in the legal profession.

"Yet CSL continuously misrepresented itself to current and prospective students as hitting the mark," said U.S. Under Secretary of Education Ted Mitchell. "CSL's actions were misleading and dishonest. We can no longer allow them continued access to federal student aid."

The American Bar Association announced on Nov. 14 that Charlotte School of Law was being placed on probation, citing the school's non-compliance with several standards necessary to maintain its accreditation with the ABA.

RELATED: American Bar Association puts Charlotte School of Law on probation 

The ABA first informed CSL of its non-compliance in February 2016, and in July 2016, the Department of Education says. On both occasions, the school failed to disclose the findings to current and prospective students, "despite its admission that the information would have a profound impact on their enrollment decisions," the department says.

Instead, the Department of Education says, CSL continued to represent itself as in full compliance with the ABA's standards.

The school has until Jan. 3, 2017 to submit evidence to dispute the Department's findings.

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