Update (June 30, 2017): The hearing took place on June 23, but there was no decision issued on that day. The court has given no indication of when it might issue a final appealable judgment, or what its ruling might be. During this process, the formal stay granted by the court on September 15, 2016 remains in effect. Our number one priority is to our veteran students and ensuring that their educational benefits are not interrupted. We will provide updates as soon as they are available.
Update on VA Education Benefits and Ashford University (June 6, 2017)
Ashford University provides the following update on students’ rights to use VA education benefits at Ashford University. At this time, we want to confirm that the stay granted by the Iowa District Court on September 15, 2016, is still in effect. The court entered that stay for the duration of the litigation process before that court. This means that your right to use VA education benefits at Ashford University is still protected and will remain protected through at least the conclusion of the litigation process in the Iowa District Court. While we do not know exactly when the court will issue a formal ruling, your benefits will be protected throughout the process.
In order to help students with any questions they might have, we would like to provide the following timeline of what has taken place to date.
- The Iowa Department of Education (IDOE), through the Iowa State Approving Agency (ISAA), announced, based on a jurisdictional interpretation with which Ashford University disagrees, that effective June 30, 2016, it would withdraw its prior approval of Ashford University’s programs for VA education benefits.
- On June 14, 2016, Ashford University, together with a veteran student enrolled at the University, filed suit in the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Iowa, against IDOE-ISAA. Ashford requested that the court stay the decision of the IDOE-ISAA to withdraw its approval of Ashford University’s programs for VA education benefits. Ashford also asked that the court find that IDOE-ISAA continues to have jurisdiction to approve Ashford University’s programs for VA education benefits.
- On June 20, 2016, the IDOE-ISAA voluntarily agreed to stay, temporarily, its decision to withdraw its approval of Ashford University’s programs as eligible for VA education benefits.
- On September 15, 2016, the court granted Ashford University’s motion and formally entered an order staying IDOE-ISAA’s attempted withdrawal of approval “until entry of a final and appealable order and judgement in this action.” This means that your right to use VA education benefits at Ashford University are protected through at least the conclusion of the litigation process in the Iowa District Court.
- Litigation remains ongoing. Therefore, the formal stay granted by the court on September 15, 2016 is still in effect. A hearing is currently scheduled for June 23, 2017, but the court has given no indication of when it might issue a final and appealable order and judgment or what its ruling might be.
Ashford University believes it meets all applicable requirements for continued approval of VA education benefits by the IDOE-ISAA and, thus, that the University will prevail in the litigation. We will continue to keep you informed of progress and updates via Ashford University Facts, e-mail and through your advising staff.
In the meantime, we will continue our fight to protect your right to receive your VA education benefits and to complete your academic program at Ashford University.