Downtown-based Education Management Corp. has argued in court filings that a 2011 policy change by the Department of Education proves that EDMC didn't previously break rules for compensating college recruiters.
EDMC filed a brief filed late Friday, supporting its effort to have dismissed a federal lawsuit accusing it of improperly paying recruiters based on the number of students they enrolled. Two whistleblowers, the Department of Justice, five states and the District of Columbia have accused for-profit educator EDMC of compensating recruiters to its 106 facilities in ways that could have encouraged the misuse of federal student aid.
EDMC has said that other factors, including professionalism and ethics, were considered along with enrollments in pay calculations.
Federal laws from 2002 through mid-2011 barred pay plans for college recruiters "based solely on the number of students recruited." Last year the Department of Education changed the law to ban any consideration of enrollment numbers in determining recruiter pay at post-secondary institutions that get federal student aid.
EDMC's attorneys wrote in their brief that in making that rule change, the Department of Education was "explicitly acknowledging in the process that the regulation in this case allowed salaries based in part on enrollment success."
The Department of Education has argued in briefs in other cases that the law was changed last year to stop "unscrupulous actors" who were using its language to circumvent Congress's intent.
The case is before U.S. District Judge Terrence F. McVerry. It is unclear if the parties will be allowed to file more briefs before he decides whether to dismiss the case or allow it to proceed.