Subject to Inquiry

Subject to Inquiry


Government Investigations and White Collar Litigation Group

Farnaz Farkish Thompson

Photo of Farnaz Farkish Thompson As leader of the firm’s Education industry team, Farnaz is a skilled litigator with extensive experience in representing employers and institutions of higher education, including academic medical centers, in breach of contract, constitutional, discrimination, and tort litigation. She has conducted investigations, advised clients on employment and education laws, and represented them before federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Department of Education.

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CFPB: For-Profit School Misrepresented ISAs, Made False Claims About Grads’ Employment Rates

Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends, Financial Institution Regulation
On April 17, 2024, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau entered an order against a for-profit vocational school and its CEO for mischaracterizing the school’s income-share agreements (ISAs) and misrepresenting its graduates’ employment rates. The CFPB said the school drove students to finance their training programs with promises of high graduate employability. To finance students’ education,… Continue Reading

U.S. Department of Education Launches Secret Shoppers Program to Investigate Colleges and Universities

Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends
Federal Student Aid’s Office of Enforcement announced a “secret shoppers” program to evaluate a college or university’s recruitment, enrollment, financial aid and other practices. The secret shoppers program will focus on student recruitment and enrollment practices, which may include the practices of online program managers. Read on for details about this initiative, including types of… Continue Reading

Education Department to Hold Owners, Individuals, Board Members Liable for Higher Education Institutions

Securities and Commodities
Today, the U.S. Department of Education announced it will hold individuals representing corporations or other legal entities, including a member of the board of directors or a chief executive officer, personally liable for the institution of higher education in certain circumstances. Federal Student Aid will require them to sign an institution’s program participation agreement to… Continue Reading

Department of Education Guidance Expands Possible Liability for Private Companies That Contract With Higher Education Institutions

Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends
UPDATE (March 1, 2023): On February 28, 2023, the Department updated the Dear Colleague Letter regarding third-party servicers to expressly state: “the guidance in this Dear Colleague Letter will not become effective until September 1, 2023.” The Department also extended the public comment period on this Dear Colleague Letter to Thursday, March 30, 2023. Finally,… Continue Reading

U.S. Department of Education Officially Asserts Authority over Income Share Agreements

Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends
On March 2, 2022, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) for the first time asserted regulatory authority over income share agreements (ISAs) as private education loans. FSA issued an electronic announcement to clarify its authority over income share agreements at institutions that receive federal aid under the Higher Education Act… Continue Reading

DOJ Title IX Investigation Leads to $1.6M Agreement with San Jose State University

The Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California, and San Jose State University (SJSU) settled the government’s Title IX investigation into a decade’s worth of sexual harassment allegations. The June 2020 allegations of “employee-on-student sexual harassment” and retaliation within SJSU’s athletics department prompted the government’s investigation.… Continue Reading

Income Share Agreements – Risks, Rewards, and Regulators

Financial Institution Regulation
An Income Share Agreement (ISA) is a contract in which a lender gives a student money for education, and in return, the student promises to pay the ISA-provider a fixed percentage of the student’s income for a set amount of time after graduation. The student may repay more or less than the amount received, depending… Continue Reading

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