Latest News: Ashford University Update on Approval for VA Benefits (Jan 5, 2018)
Today we submitted our application to the California State Approving Agency for Veterans Education (CSAAVE). As stated in an e-mail from the VA to you on December 13, 2017, "As long as Ashford is pursuing this application in good faith, VA will continue to pay benefits. Approval by California would resolve VA's concerns and allow uninterrupted benefits for students attending Ashford."
We’ve created this site to provide updates on the latest developments affecting Ashford University’s military and veteran community.
Ashford University demonstrates an unwavering commitment to our military and veteran students. Serving the men and women who serve and have served our country is at the heart of Ashford University’s educational mission. They have sacrificed to serve our country and should not be penalized by having their educational goals unfairly disrupted or unnecessarily placed on hold.
However, we find ourselves in a situation where some of our students, namely those using the veteran's education benefits they have earned, have been put in jeopardy.
On November 9, 2017, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (the “VA”) informed Ashford University that the Arizona State Approving Agency has not provided sufficient evidence to establish that it has jurisdictional authority over Ashford’s online programs and as a result the VA intends to suspend payment of educational assistance and approval of new enrollments and reenrollments for Ashford University’s online programs in 60 days unless corrective action is taken. The VA alleges that Ashford is not in compliance because of a disagreement over the interpretation and application of the term “main campus.”
Because of this, Ashford University is taking legal action to fight for our student veterans, service members and their families.
On Friday, November 17, Ashford University filed a petition in Federal Court against the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for the following reasons:
- Ashford University strongly disagrees with the VA’s interpretation of the relevant regulations.
- VA has never asserted that Ashford has made a substantive violation of the statutes or regulations governing veterans’ education benefits. In fact, Ashford has always been in full compliance with all substantive VA requirements, as evidenced by its uniformly favorable compliance surveys, and the VA has never contended otherwise.
- There is a general consensus that current VA regulations are outdated. They were written during the “brick and mortar” era of higher education and did not anticipate the emergence of online institutions such as Ashford, where students, faculty, and facilities are geographically distributed.
- Congress has been clear that authority to oversee and approve educational programs is delegated to state officials, and that the VA is prohibited from interfering with that authority.
- In approving Ashford, Arizona took all appropriate actions, followed correct procedures, and acted within the authority clearly delegated to the states by Congress. But as it did in the State of Iowa, the VA inappropriately infringed on the State of Arizona’s authority to administer approval of veterans’ education benefits. This is an unprecedented federal encroachment that stands in stark opposition to the decades-long legacy of federalism in the GI Bill.
To be clear, this matter has nothing to do with the academic quality of our programs—which are not in question—or the value of what Ashford provides to our military and veteran students. We dedicate a specialized support staff, made up of many former service members, to focus on assisting our veteran students with their unique educational needs. And we pride ourselves on helping these brave men and women make the most of the present while planning for their futures.
We appreciate the patience and support of our dedicated veteran students during this time. We are doing everything we can to resolve the situation. We’ll make sure to continue to keep you informed of what we’re doing to make things right for you, your families and the benefits that you worked so hard through service to our country to receive.