In its most recent Securities and Exchange Commission filing, University of Phoenix parent company Apollo Group disclosed that the Department of Education will conduct a review to make sure that the company complied with federal financial-aid rules. The information being examined specifically deals with how the university verified data provided by students.
The Department of Education review, which will begin July 16, will look into Apollo Group’s reporting for the 2010-2011 academic year, as well as information available for the 2011-2012 year. After initially analyzing 2010-2011 data the Department of Education determined that the University of Phoenix had initially misreported what are known as “status codes.”
A Chronicle of Higher Edication report explained that after a student’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is submitted the Department of Education flags certain forms for additional verification. Schools must then obtain additional documentation to confirm that the supplied information is correct. After verifying the information, the schools change a code on the application to indicate the new status.
There are over 30 separate status codes used by universities when processing financial aid applications. The codes detail every phase of the application process from the first request for additional documents to payment. Students are able to check the status of their application through the FAFSA website or through the websites of some universities’ financial aid offices.
Federal regulations require that colleges and universities, whether not-for-profit or for-profit, verify student information in order to receive student aid.
Apollo Group executives made no mention of the Department of Education review in a June 25 conference call with financial analysts held to discuss the company’s third quarter earnings, which had dropped by approximately 9% year-over-year.
Follow Alex Wukman on Twitter @AlexWukman