WEST FRANKFORT – The U.S. Department of Education (DoE) has fined Morthland College more than $2 million for alleged ethics and financial violations.
A DoE spokesman said the department imposed an emergency action against Morthland College in late August disallowing it access to Title IV student aid funds.
The Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools is Morthland College’s accreditor, and its president, Timothy Eaton, said it’s common for institutions of higher education to face regulatory reviews like this.
“It’s kind of like an audit, and if you miss something on some occasions, funds have to be repaid,” he said. “It is common across higher education for institutions to be reviewed and to have to repay monies or even have a penalty.”
Eaton said he doesn’t believe the college wasted or abused taxpayer dollars.
When asked whether a $2 million fine is also common, Eaton said it is not.
“That is a big number, and that is probably not normal,” he said. “It’s not normal. It’s unusual for it to be that high.”
Eaton said Tim Morthland, the president of Morthland College, is not facing any criminal charges linked to the investigation.
“To my understanding this is not a legal issue,” Eaton said. “This is a regulatory issue, and Morthland — as the due process works — they have appealed, and they will have the opportunity to represent the institution to the Department of Education.”
The DoE released a statement saying Morthland College’s appeal hearing for the termination and fine will take place with the department’s Office of Hearings and Appeals.
(Information provided by Greg Bishop with the Illinois Radio Network in Springfield. WMCL-AM is an IRN affiliate.)