CFPB Expands Its Targeting of For-Profit Schools and Pushes Jurisdictional Limits
After suing two of the nation’s largest for-profit school chains, ITT and Corinthian, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is continuing its push to police the for-profit school industry. Bridgepoint Education, Inc. recently disclosed that on August 10, 2015, Bridgepoint and Ashford University received Civil Investigative Demands (CIDs) from the CFPB related to the CFPB’s investigation to determine “whether for-profit post-secondary-education companies” have engaged in unlawful acts or practices related to the advertising, marketing or origination of private student loans. And on October 29, 2015, the CFPB filed a lawsuit to compel the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) to comply with a CID that the CFPB had issued to it on August 25, 2015. That CID concerns an investigation into possible legal violations “in connection with accrediting for-profit colleges.” These two actions suggest the CFPB will continue to pursue the for-profit industry, including associated entities such as ACICS that provide accreditation to such schools, apparently without concern over possibly exceeding its jurisdictional limits. This alert reviews the CFPB’s cases against for-profit schools to date and discusses the implications of the CIDs issued to Bridgepoint and ACICS.