The Holdouts: Some Colleges Refuse Federal Funding to Avoid Federal Regulations

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Mar 11, 2019 | 0 Comments

In a recent blog post, we mentioned how federal funding for higher education, and therefore Title IX obligations, is nearly universal in the U.S. There are, however, a small number of holdouts, including some right here in the state of Pennsylvania. The majority of these schools refuse to accept federal funding – even forbidding their students from accepting federal aid and Pell Grants – largely to avoid federal regulations.

The Few Schools Untied by Title IX

There are not many schools left in the U.S. that have been able to survive without the help of the federal government. They do exist, though, and include schools like:

  • Faith Bible College
  • Gutenberg College
  • New College Franklin
  • Patrick Henry College
  • Wyoming Catholic College
  • Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Grove City College

The vast majority of these schools refuse to take federal money on religious grounds: The federal assistance comes with strings attached that go against the school's religious undertones and founding charters.

Most of those misgivings, however, deal not with Title IX's obligations to investigate sexual misconduct on campus, but with legal responsibilities to provide fair treatment to LGBT students. For many religious schools, these anti-discrimination rules run so contrary to their religious convictions against homosexuality that they have found it worth it to refuse federal funding, outright.

An interesting side-note is the ongoing debate as to whether these schools should be forced to disclose their status outside the anti-discrimination regulations. Some states are considering passing laws to require such disclosure.

Commitment to Refuse Federal Funding Impacts Financial Aid

The level of commitment shown by these schools to avoid federal regulations, including Title IX regulations, is not light. Federal financial assistance given to needy students comes through Title IV financial aid programs. Because the costs of attending college have skyrocketed in the last few decades, more and more students receive Title IV money to go to school. However, Title IV funding – even though it goes to students, rather than directly to colleges – carries all of the attendant requirements that come with federal funding that goes directly to a university.

Therefore, once a college accepts tuition payment from a student who offers Title IV money, that college becomes obligated to uphold all of the federal regulations that come with the Title IV funding. Refusing anyone who offers to pay for college with Title IV funding, therefore, eliminates a huge swath of a college's potential enrollment.

Title IX Defense Lawyer and Advisor Joseph D. Lento

Allegations of sexual misconduct on these few campuses take on a whole different color than in the schools that do accept federal funding. For example, allegations of sexual misconduct at Grove City College are dealt with in the exact same way as regular misconduct. While this may seem like a win for students accused of sexual misconduct and concerned for their due process rights, that is not necessarily the case: The lack of uniformity can cut against them as often as it benefits their interests.

If you have been accused of sexual misconduct, Title IX defense lawyer and national advisor Joseph D. Lento can help, even if your school does not accept federal funding and does not abide by Title IX's requirements. Contact him online or call his law office at (888) 535-3686.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients nationwide. Attorney Lento and his team represent students and others in disciplinary cases and various other proceedings at colleges and universities across the United States. Attorney Lento has helped countless students, professors, and others in academia at more than a thousand colleges and universities across the United States, and when necessary, he and his team have sought justice on behalf of clients in courts across the nation. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide, and he can help you or your student address any school-related issue or concern anywhere in the United States.


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