U.S. Department of Education is investigating Fox School of Business

Online MBA students could get their federal loans forgiven under the “borrower defense” provision if the school is found to have misled prospective students.

Fox School of Business’s Online MBA program lost its No. 1 ranking from the U.S. News & World Report on Jan. 25. The national recognition still appeared on signage, like this advertisement in Alter Hall, on Jan. 29. | ALYSSA BIEDERMAN / FILE PHOTO

The U.S. Department of Education is investigating the Fox School of Business to determine if it misled prospective students about its Online MBA program, which, based off false data, was ranked No. 1 by the U.S. News and World report for years, the Inquirer reported.

If the department finds the university at fault, Online MBA students could get their federal loans forgiven under the “borrower defense” provision, which allows students who were misled by a university to get their loans refunded. The university may have to pay the refunds.

The investigation began after an Online MBA student filed a lawsuit against the school in February and news coverage of the misreporting allegations surfaced, a department official, who asked to be anonymous, told the Inquirer.

“We are complying with that request,” wrote Ray Betzner, a university spokesman, in an email to The Temple News on Tuesday. “At the same time, the university’s examination of the Fox School’s rankings data and processes continues.”

The department’s probe was launched earlier this year, before the university disclosed the findings from the Jones Day review. The international law firm’s report found the school to have knowingly misreported data to rankings agencies.

Following the report, top university officials asked former Dean Moshe Porat to resign. On Monday, Temple appointed Ron Anderson, chair of the Department of Finance, to be Fox’s interim dean.

The university has taken several steps to address the misreporting scandal, like seeking to hire at least two new staff members in Institutional Research and Assessment.

In an email, President Richard Englert said the university is providing necessary information to the Department of Education and other agencies that have launched investigations.

The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office launched an investigation into Temple and Fox on July 13. This investigation will determine if there was other misreported data within the university and if the university broke any laws.

In light of the investigation and Jones Day report, all of Temple’s schools and colleges must now follow a new process to submit data, Provost JoAnne Epps announced in an email to the Temple community on July 11.

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