Education Litigation & Administrative Appeals

U.S. Department of Education audit defense and appealsThe Gallegos Legal Group brings a unique blend of civil litigation and administrative law experience.  The firm has represented educational institutions before the U.S. Department of Education (USDE), accrediting agencies, state licensing boards, and the courts.

Gallegos Law Group has 30 years of experience in USDE program review and audit defense and appeals. Our firm can provide your institution with focused and skilled advocacy. Even if you have conducted your own internal compliance reviews, you may be subject to an administrative action that could threaten your institution’s access to Title IV federal funds.

U.S. Department of Education Program Review Defense

If the USDE is carrying out a program review at your college or university, it is imperative that you have a strategy of preparation and defense to limit liability and maintain Title IV eligibility.

One of the key elements in responding to a program review or audit is preparing the documentary evidence demonstrating that you are in full compliance.  Our firm will help you assemble all of the required documents, and present the information to greatest effect.

Our experience with program reviews and audits gives us insight into the most complex findings, and allows us to help you prepare responses that minimize or eliminate liability.  If you have been notified that you were selected for a review, please contact us as soon as possible since the timeframe for preparation is limited.  If your college or university has already been reviewed and was issued findings, we can help you to challenge the results of the review and minimize monetary exposure.  We have a long track record of limiting and reversing adverse agency findings.

If the review has not yet taken place, we can help you anticipate and avoid potential findings that could otherwise arise in program reviews and audits.  In this way, we can help you avoid regulatory issues that could interfere with your institution’s eligibility for Title IV funding.

Especially where Title IV funding is at stake, it is critical to consult with an attorney who has the depth of experience required to effectively respond to findings after they have been issued, and to anticipate and resolve potential findings to ensure they are never made through a program audit.   

A USDE review that uncovers a systemic deviation from Title IV compliance can cost a college or university not only millions of dollars, but also its eligibility to participate in the Title IV programs.

The Gallegos Legal Group works with clients to draft policies and procedures and to train key personnel to ensure compliance.  We work with corporate officers, financial aid staff, academic deans, controllers, human resources staff and IT staff to review policies and procedures to ensure compliance.

The Gallegos Legal Group handles program reviews and audits with the intent to exceed client expectations. The firm also counsels clients on preventative legal strategies to mitigate the possibility of any regulatory issue arising in the first place.

Civil Litigation

In addition to administrative appeals and remedies, educational institutions can also face civil litigation or seek the assistance of the courts for relief from incorrect legal interpretations of administrative agencies. This appellate victory for the firm’s founder, Yolanda Gallegos, in San Juan City College v. United States expanded the rights of schools to sue the USDE for damages.  Prior to this decision, the only remedy available to postsecondary schools was reimbursement of funds advanced by the school to eligible students.

If your institution has been found ineligible and was unjustly denied access to Title IV federal funding, then we may be able to restore funding through a civil suit that also brings a claim for damages.