Morthland College in Illinois closing due to funding issues

WEST FRANKFORT, Ill. (AP) — Morthland College will be closing permanently, according to an attorney for the southern Illinois school.

Attorney Aaron Hopkins told The Southern Illinoisan the college will be shuttering after operating for about seven years because it lacks funds to open in the fall. About 150 jobs will be lost with the college’s closing, Morthland said in a press release.

The Department of Education blocked the school’s access to federal student aid through an emergency action letter last year after an internal review. The school had to spend its money upfront and then apply for reimbursement from the federal agency.

The department alleged the university worked with prep sports academies to get federal student aid for students at the sports academies who were registered in online classes and weren’t regular students.

“Morthland’s misconduct is exemplified by its illegal disbursement of Title IV funds to ineligible students, its improper retention of unearned funds when students ceased attending, its improper handling of Title IV credit balances, its use of an inflated cost of attendance, and its failure to meet Title IV institutional and program eligibility requirements,” said Susan D. Crim, director of the department’s Administrative Actions and Appeals Service Group.

The state Board of Higher Education also began an investigation that could’ve resulted in the revocation of the college’s operating ability.

The college hasn’t received a final program review from the department and its appeal of the emergency action letter has been in negotiation since November.

“Without a timeline for settlement or the restoration of these funding lines, the institution simply does not have the fiscal resources to open this fall,” the release said.

Morthland officials have denied all allegations.

Photo Gallery