regulations, however, recognize state authorization reciprocity agreements, in which KU participates, as a means of satisfying the Title IV requirement. An institution must be able to document its approval under a state authorization reciprocity agreement, upon the ED’s request, if it does not have a separate authorization in a state where it enrolls distance-education students.
The regulations are not scheduled to take effect until July 1, 2018. Specifically, the regulations will require an institution that offers postsecondary education through distance education in a state in which the institution is not physically located, or in which the state determines that the institution is otherwise subject to the state’s jurisdiction, to meet the state’s authorization requirements for offering postsecondary distance education in that state or show that it is authorized through a reciprocity agreement. The regulations also will require the institution to document that there is a state process for review and appropriate action on complaints from enrolled students in each such state. In addition, the regulations will require the institution to provide public disclosures regarding various matters relating to its state authorization and to provide individualized disclosures to each prospective student regarding certain matters, including whether the student’s program fails to meet licensure or certification prerequisites in the state in which the student resides. If Kaplan is unable to obtain the required approvals for distance-education programs by the effective date of the new regulations, then Kaplan students residing in the state for which approval was not obtained may be unable to receive Title IV funds, which could have a material adverse effect on Kaplan’s business and operations. The implementation of this rule may further limit Concord’s ability to enroll students in its Juris Doctor program outside of California and may materially impact Concord’s revenue.
Congressional Reauthorization of Title IV Programs. All of the Title IV programs are subject to periodic legislative review and reauthorization. In addition, while Congress historically has not limited the amount of funding available for the various Title IV student loan programs, the availability of funding for the Title IV programs that provide for the payment of grants is primarily contingent upon the outcome of the annual U.S. Federal appropriations process. Congress also can make changes in the laws affecting Title IV programs in those annual appropriations bills and in other laws it enacts between Higher Education Act reauthorizations. The Higher Education Act was reauthorized through September 2014 and has continued to receive annual appropriations. The House Education and the Workforce Committee approved a reauthorization bill on December 13, 2017. The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee has indicated it plans to develop its own reauthorization bill. It is not known if or when Congress will pass final legislation that amends the Higher Education Act or other laws affecting U.S. Federal student aid.
Whether as a result of changes in the laws and regulations governing Title IV programs, a reduction in Title IV program funding levels or a failure of KU to maintain eligibility to participate in Title IV programs, a material reduction in the amount of Title IV financial assistance available to the students attending those schools could have a material adverse effect on Kaplan’s business and operations. In addition, any development that has the effect of making the terms on which Title IV financial assistance is made available materially less attractive could also have a material adverse effect on Kaplan’s business and operations.
Governmental Scrutiny and Enforcement. There has been increased attention by Congress on the role that for-profit educational institutions play in higher education, including their participation in Title IV programs and tuition assistance programs for military service members attending for-profit colleges. Beginning in June 2010, the HELP Committee held a series of hearings to examine the for-profit education sector and requested information from various for-profit institutions, including KHE institutions. In July 2012, the majority staff of the HELP Committee issued a final report to conclude the review. The final report included observations and recommendations for federal policy related to increasing regulations on higher education.
Other committees of Congress have also held hearings to look into, among other things, the standards and procedures of accrediting agencies, credit hours and program length and the portion of U.S. Federal student financial aid going to for-profit institutions. This increased activity, and other current and future activity, may result in legislation, further rulemaking and other governmental actions affecting Kaplan’s participation in Title IV programs or the amount of student financial assistance for which Kaplan’s students are eligible. In addition, concerns generated by congressional or other activity, or negative media reports, may adversely affect enrollment in for-profit educational institutions.
The increased scrutiny of for-profit schools also has resulted in additional enforcement actions, investigations and lawsuits by the ED; other federal agencies; state Attorneys General and state licensing agencies. These actions and allegations have attracted significant negative media coverage. Recent enforcement actions have resulted in institutions being required to post substantial letters of credit, liabilities, restrictions and sanctions and, in some cases, have led to the loss of Title IV eligibility and closure of institutions. Allegations and enforcement actions against the overall postsecondary education sector may impact general public perceptions of private-sector educational institutions, including Kaplan, in a negative manner. Negative media coverage regarding other educational institutions or regarding Kaplan directly could damage Kaplan’s reputation, reduce student demand for Kaplan programs or lead to increased regulatory scrutiny and could negatively impact Kaplan’s operating results.