For the first time yesterday, the Department of Education released the names of most of the 560 colleges whose federal aid was restricted due to concerns about their finances or compliance with federal requirements. Read the original article published by Inside Higher Education, here.

Heightened Cash Monitoring is a step that the Federal Student Aid office can take to provide additional oversight regarding federal or financial issues. Per the Department of Education:

“Heightened Cash Monitoring is not necessarily a red flag to students and taxpayers, but it can serve as a caution light. It means we are watching these institutions more closely to ensure that institutions are using federal student aid in a way that is accountable to both students and taxpayers.”

Currently, Ave Maria  is the only law school that appears  list (accessible here).and is classified under the lower level of monitoring “HCM – Cash Monitoring 1” due to “Financial Responsibility.”

Why is Ave Maria on the list? It may be a result of the school falling below the Department’s standards of financial responsibility. Each year the Department of Education publishes a composite score of the financial health of institutions ranging from -1.0 through 3.0. A score, greater than, or equal to 1.5 means that a school is financially responsible. Ave Maria scored a -.05 (compared to Harvard, which received a 2.9). The Department’s full list is available here.

It also may be that Ave Maria is under review, due to declining enrollments at the school. The graph below shows the last four years of reporting to the ABA. Student enrollment has declined, yet the number of students receiving grants has stayed the same.


  • As of 2014, Ave Maria reported 71% of students receive grants and scholarships (up from an average of 49% over the previous three years)



  • Tuition has remained steady at $40,136 over the past two years per the Tuition Tracker





Copyright © 2015 by James Mullen, J.D., Published at James Mullen is the author of “How to Write a Bar Exam Essay in 60 Minutes.” and “Bar Tracker.” 

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