A federal court has affirmed a bankruptcy court’s ruling this year in favor of a for-profit college that was forced to close after losing its accreditation and federal funding.
The U.S. Department of Education pulled student aid from Louisville’s Decker College in 2005, after the Council on Occupational Education said Decker didn’t accurately report that it offered several of its courses through distant or online learning.
The request to reconsider accredidation came from a federal student aid officer named Ralph LoBosco. Many at the time felt LoBosco held a grudge against Decker’s CEO William Weld, who was involved in two lawsuits affecting LoBosco’s employment.
Decker argued that it had acted responsibly and that there were previous opportunities for the COE to challenge the school’s accreditation but it never did.
A bankruptcy court earlier this year supported Decker’s claims that the Council on Occupational Education made erroneous statements to the Department of Education and a Western District Court judge ruled in Decker’s favor on the appeal.
“The court said it read the entire record, looked at everything, and said there was substantial evidence to support it,” said attorney Peter Coffman who represents Decker’s trustee, Robert Keats.
Coffman says the COE may choose to appeal to a higher court, but he wants the issue to continue to a Department of Education administrative court, where another case is pending and where both Decker and the department claim they’re owned money.
“We’re going to contact them again and try to get them to accept what the district court has ruled,” said Coffman.
The Department of Education says it’s owned over $30 million in financial aid it provided Decker when it was allegedly not accredited, Coffman said. Keats previously told WFPL the Department still owes Decker millions of dollars in unpaid student aid.