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Statement on Provisional Status Designation by the US Department of Education

Fuller was recently notified by the US Department of Education (ED) that with respect to Fuller’s participation in the federal student aid programs it has received a provisional certification status for a two-year period ending December 2024. Fuller will seek regular approval from ED as soon as this is permitted, in Fall 2024. Fuller’s provisional status was based on compliance deficiencies noted during Fuller’s routine annual audits over the period 2018–2020. Fuller has already taken the needed corrective action during fiscal year 2021, and ED noted that in the current audit for 2021 Fuller had already corrected the identified issues. Fuller is committed to maintaining compliance in this area going forward.

The following FAQ provides greater context to the designation:

What is provisional status?
Provisional status is a US Department of Education (ED) designation given to institutions that utilize federal financial aid but have been found lacking in their compliance with ED regulations. [ED regulations contain detailed rules related to institutional administration of the federal student aid programs.] The provisional status designation is the outcome of ED’s review of Fuller’s independent annual audits of administering federal financial aid programs. During the period of provisional status, the seminary remains fully eligible to participate in all federal financial aid programs.

Why did Fuller receive provisional status and what is being done to address the concerns?
ED identified a pattern of administrative deficiencies regarding the processes around when a student decides to officially withdraw from the seminary and the management of their federal financial aid funds. We have reviewed and revamped all withdrawal processes, systems, and protocols to address compliance issues with the highest level of seminary leadership actively involved. As evidenced by our most recent 2021 audit, there was no recurrence of issues identified by ED.

What is the impact of provisional status on Fuller?
Provisional status requires the institution to request and receive ED approval prior to offering new academic programs for which federal aid might be awarded. This includes establishing an additional location at which an academic program is delivered, or desiring to grant access to federal financial aid to an existing program through ED for the first time.

What efforts are being made to rectify this?
Fuller is already implementing better processes to identify students who are officially withdrawing from the seminary and to ensure calculations and returns of federal aid are performed within federally mandated timelines. Fuller is also in the process of revising and publishing an Official Withdrawal Policy and adjusting the Student Information System to be in alignment with these changes.