STEUBENVILLE and YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WTRF) – Wednesday, the meeting between Eastern Gateway Community College (EGCC) and the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) to address their cease and desist letter, was postponed by DOE. They requested additional time to meet internally to respond to the college’s questions sent to them earlier today in preparation for the meeting.
After thorough discussion with college legal counsel and the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, the college has concluded that it is in the best interest of EGCC to move forward only by exercising an abundance of caution. As such, and until EGCC receives the responses from DOE, the college is temporarily suspending new enrollments in the Free College Benefit for Fall 2022.
EGCC students who have enrolled for Fall 2022 courses on or before July 18, 2022, will be able to attend in the Fall and use Title IV aid and/or the Free College Benefit. Students who enrolled for Fall 2022 courses on or after July 19, 2022, at this time are not eligible for the Free College Benefit and may not utilize Title IV aid. The college is diligently working on an alternative funding plan for these students before the Fall start.
“We understand that this is a frustrating change of direction for our students, our staff, and the EGCC community. However, we know with certainty that this path will align with the most conservative elements of guidance received to date from DOE, and therefore it will avoid further scrutiny or potential misinterpretation while DOE works to provide us with answers. This serves to preserve the integrity of the College and leave zero doubt as to whether we are being compliant with DOE’s current directives,” explained President Michael Geoghegan.
The college will continue to work with DOE regarding all changes they seek for the Free College Benefit Program and will vigorously pursue prompt guidance to move forward quickly and compliantly.