Practice Overview

Federal Student Aid and other Higher Education Act (HEA) Programs

The Higher Education Opportunity Act ( HEOA or HEA) provides federal funding for major student aid programs, as well as other significant post-secondary education initiatives. In exchange, States educational agencies (SEAs) and institutions of higher education must meet numerous program rules and requirements.

Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC provides legal advice to help public and private colleges and universities and SEAs nationwide comply with the statutes, regulations and programs of the Higher Education Act, including:

  • The Title IV student financial aid programs such as the Stafford Loan Program and Pell Grants;
  • HEA regulations, policy letters, and guidance from the U.S. Department of Education, including the Federal Student Aid Handbook; 
  • The Family Educational Rights Privacy Act (FERPA); 
  • The Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR); and
  • Current higher education reform proposals in Congress.

We represent post-secondary schools in a variety of legal matters such as:

  • Appeals of Final Program Review and Final Audit Determination issued by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Federal Student Aid;
  • Negotiations with regional Case Management Teams to avoid additional adverse actions while an appeal is pending.
  • Challenges to the calculation of cohort default rates (CDR) and the calculation of liabilities, working closely with experienced financial aid consultants and statisticians, as appropriate;
  • Development of certification, recertification and reinstatement applications under Title IV of the Higher Education Act;
  • Title IV Student Financial Aid (SFA) refunds;
  • Responses to reviews and audits of student financial aid, such as subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford Loan Program and Pell Grants, and development of corrective action, internal controls and policies and procedures;
  • Programmatic issues; and
  • Grants management.

The most proactive approach to resolving federal education program compliance problems is to avoid their occurrence. To this end, the firm providestraining seminars and workshops on the Higher Education Act statutes, regulations and programs. In addition, we provide technical assistance in the administrations and management of federal student aid programs and review policies and procedures for compliance.  Our attorneys also providelegislative services to keep state educational agencies and post-secondary schools informed about important changes to the higher education community.