The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is a government agency tasked with protecting consumers in matters related to misconduct by businesses in the financial sector. This generally means unlawful acts involving mortgage loans, credit cards, retirement and insurance policies, and student loans. Among the powers of the CFPB is to issue broad administrative subpoenas during its investigations.
One of these subpoenas was issued in 2015 to the Accrediting Council of Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS). The ACICS is an organization that since 1912, has granted accreditation to for-profit colleges. This means that it was supposed to ensure that these colleges met admissions and academic standards, that they were financially stable and that their students stayed at the college and graduate. It was also supposed to monitor job placement rates and ensure that students had positive outcomes after spending the time and money to complete college.
ACICS Has Been Under Fire for Years
Unfortunately, the ACICS has been under fire for years. Just last year, it lost its federal authority to operate when the Department of Education stripped its accrediting power. This decision was based on findings that the organization had been too loose in its oversight of the institutions that it accredited, failing to adequately protect the 600,000 students at those colleges.
In August 2015, during the peak of government actions against the ACICS, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued an administrative subpoena, seeking information about the process that seven colleges went through to receive an accreditation. The ACICS battled this subpoena through the courts for over a year and in late April 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. District ruled in favor of ACICS. The Court of Appeals essentially held that the CFPB's subpoena had been too vague and that the agency lacked jurisdiction to cast such a broad net for evidence of unlawful conduct.
This was an unprecedented blow to the agency, who will be forced to re-examine their subpoena and investigation procedures. Following the ruling, the ACICS' attorney, Allyson Baker, stated that this was the "first time in decades that a federal appeals court has struck down an administrative subpoena issued by the federal government."
You Need an Attorney to Stand By You
We are living in an era when for-profit colleges are winning and thriving. You need an attorney who will continue to fight for consumers and stand up for your legal rights. If you were a DeVry student in the last ten years and qualified for FTC settlement money, give Moss Bollinger a call. You may be entitled to additional money. We take no fees up front and only get paid if you get paid. Call the attorneys at Moss Bollinger today at 800-249-1175 or use our online form.