Commitments and Contingencies
|6 Months Ended|
Oct. 31, 2015
|Commitments and Contingencies [Abstract]|
|Commitments and Contingencies||
Note 8. Commitments and Contingencies
Line of Credit
The Company maintains a line of credit with a bank, up to a maximum credit line of $250,000. The line of credit bears interest equal to the prime rate plus 0.50% (overall interest rate of 3.75% at October 31, 2015). The line of credit requires minimum monthly payments consisting of interest only. The line of credit is secured by all business assets, inventory, equipment, accounts, general intangibles, chattel paper, documents, instruments and letter of credit rights of the Company. The line of credit is for an unspecified time until the bank notifies the Company of the Final Availability Date, at which time monthly payments on the line of credit become the sum of: (a) accrued interest and (b) 1/60th of the unpaid principal balance immediately following the Final Availability Date, which equates to a five-year payment period. The balance due on the line of credit as of October 31, 2015 was $249,783. Since the earliest the line of credit is due and payable is over a five year period and the Company believes that it could obtain a comparable replacement line of credit elsewhere, the entire line of credit is included in long-term liabilities. The unused amount under the line of credit available to the Company at October 31, 2015 was $217.
From time to time, the Company enters into employment agreements with certain of its employees. These agreements typically include bonuses, some of which are performance-based in nature. As of October 31, 2015, no performance bonuses have been earned.
From time to time, we may be involved in litigation relating to claims arising out of our operations in the normal course of business. As of October 31, 2015, except as discussed below, there were no other pending or threatened lawsuits that could reasonably be expected to have a material effect on the results of our operations and there are no proceedings in which any of our directors, officers or affiliates, or any registered or beneficial shareholder, is an adverse party or has a material interest adverse to our interest.
On February 11, 2013, HEMG and Mr. Spada sued the Company, certain senior management members and our directors in state court in New York seeking damages arising principally from (i) allegedly false and misleading statements in the filings with the SEC and the DOE where the Company disclosed that HEMG and Mr. Spada borrowed $2.2 million without board authority, (ii) the alleged breach of an April 2012 agreement whereby the Company had agreed, subject to numerous conditions and time limitations, to purchase certain shares of the Company from HEMG, and (iii) alleged diminution to the value of HEMG's shares of the Company due to Mr. Spada's disagreement with certain business transactions the Company engaged in, all with Board approval. On November 8, 2013, the state court in New York granted the Company's motion to dismiss all of the derivative claims and all of the fiduciary duty claims. The state court in New York also granted the Company's motion to dismiss the duplicative breach of good faith and fair dealing claim, as well as the defamation claim. The state court in New York denied the Company's motion to dismiss as to the defamation per se claim. On December 10, 2013, the Company filed a series of counterclaims against HEMG and Mr. Spada in state court of New York. By decision and order dated August 4, 2014, the New York court denied HEMG and Spada's motion to dismiss the fraud counterclaim the Company asserted against them. The New York court dismissed the Company's related money had and received, money lent and unjust enrichment counterclaims as being duplicative of the fraud counterclaim; however by decision dated April 30, 2015, the Court reinstated the Company's money had and received, money lent and unjust enrichment counterclaims, and denied HEMG's and Spada's second request for dismissal of the Company's fraud counterclaim.
As previously reported, HEMG and Mr. Spada filed a derivative suit on behalf of the Company against certain former senior management member and our directors in state court in Delaware. The Company was a nominal defendant. The complaint was substantially similar to the complaint filed in state court of New York. On November 3, 2014, the Chancery Court of the State of Delaware dismissed the shareholders' derivative lawsuit of Mr. Patrick Spada and Higher Education Management Group, Inc. against Aspen Group, Inc., certain members of the Company's Board of Directors and former Chief Financial Officer (collectively, the Defendants). The Court granted the Defendant's Motion to Dismiss in its entirety with prejudice. The Plaintiff's have not taken an appeal and the time to do so has expired.
While the Company has been advised by its counsel that HEMG's and Spada's claims in the New York lawsuit is baseless, the Company cannot provide any assurance as to the ultimate outcome of the case. Defending the lawsuit will be expensive and will require the expenditure of time which could otherwise be spent on the Company's business. While unlikely, if Mr. Spada's and HEMG's claims in the New York litigation were to be successful, the damages the Company could pay could potentially be material.
On October 15, 2015, HEMG filed bankruptcy pursuant to Chapter 7. As a result, the remaining claims and Aspen's counterclaims in the New York lawsuit are currently stayed.
On August 13, 2015, a former employee filed a complaint against the Company in the United States District Court, District of Arizona, for breach of contract claiming that Plaintiff was terminated for Cause when no cause existed. Plaintiff is seeking the remaining amounts under her employment agreement, severance pay, bonuses, value of lost benefits, and the loss of the value of her stock options. The Company filed an answer to the complaint by the September 8, 2015 deadline.
The Company's subsidiary, Aspen University, is subject to extensive regulation by Federal and State governmental agencies and accrediting bodies. In particular, the Higher Education Act (the HEA) and the regulations promulgated thereunder by the DOE subject Aspen University to significant regulatory scrutiny on the basis of numerous standards that schools must satisfy to participate in the various types of federal student financial assistance programs authorized under Title IV of the HEA. Aspen University has had provisional certification to participate in the Title IV programs. That provisional certification imposes certain regulatory restrictions including, but not limited to, a limit of 1,200 student recipients for Title IV funding for the duration of the provisional certification. The provisional certification restrictions continue with regard to Aspen University's participation in Title IV programs.
To participate in the Title IV programs, an institution must be authorized to offer its programs of instruction by the relevant agencies of the State in which it is located. An institution must also be authorized to offer its programs in the States where the institution offers postsecondary education through distance education. In addition, an institution must be accredited by an accrediting agency recognized by the DOE and certified as eligible by the DOE. The DOE will certify an institution to participate in the Title IV programs only after the institution has demonstrated compliance with the HEA and the DOE's extensive academic, administrative, and financial regulations regarding institutional eligibility and certification. An institution must also demonstrate its compliance with these requirements to the DOE on an ongoing basis. Aspen University performs periodic reviews of its compliance with the various applicable regulatory requirements. As Title IV funds received in fiscal 2015 represented approximately 33% of the Company's cash basis revenues (including revenues from discontinued operations), as calculated in accordance with Department of Education guidelines, the loss of Title IV funding would have a material effect on the Company's future financial performance.
On March 27, 2012 and on August 31, 2012, Aspen University provided the DOE with letters of credit for which the due date was extended to December 31, 2013. On January 30, 2014, the DOE provided Aspen University with an option to become permanently certified by increasing the letter of credit to 50% of all Title IV funds received in the last program year, equaling $1,696,445, or to remain provisionally certified by increasing the 25% letter of credit to $848,225. Aspen informed the DOE of its desire to remain provisionally certified and posted the $848,225 letter of credit for the DOE on April 14, 2014. On February 26, 2015, Aspen University was informed by the DOE that it again has the option to become permanently certified by increasing the letter of credit to 50% of all Title IV funds received in the last program year, equaling $2,244,971, or to remain provisionally certified by increasing the existing 25% letter of credit to $1,122,485. Aspen informed the DOE on March 3, 2015 of its desire to remain provisionally certified and post the $1,122,485 letter of credit for the DOE by April 30, 2015. The DOE may impose additional or different terms and conditions in any final provisional program participation agreement that it may issue (See Note 2 Restricted Cash).
The HEA requires accrediting agencies to review many aspects of an institution's operations in order to ensure that the education offered is of sufficiently high quality to achieve satisfactory outcomes and that the institution is complying with accrediting standards. Failure to demonstrate compliance with accrediting standards may result in the imposition of probation, the requirements to provide periodic reports, the loss of accreditation or other penalties if deficiencies are not remediated.
Because Aspen University operates in a highly regulated industry, it may be subject from time to time to audits, investigations, claims of noncompliance or lawsuits by governmental agencies or third parties, which allege statutory violations, regulatory infractions or common law causes of action.
On February 25, 2015, the DEAC informed Aspen University that it had renewed its accreditation for five years to January, 2019.
Return of Title IV Funds
An institution participating in Title IV programs must correctly calculate the amount of unearned Title IV program funds that have been disbursed to students who withdraw from their educational programs before completion and must return those unearned funds in a timely manner, no later than 45 days of the date the school determines that the student has withdrawn. Under Department regulations, failure to make timely returns of Title IV program funds for 5% or more of students sampled on the institution's annual compliance audit in either of its two most recently completed fiscal years can result in the institution having to post a letter of credit in an amount equal to 25% of its required Title IV returns during its most recently completed fiscal year. If unearned funds are not properly calculated and returned in a timely manner, an institution is also subject to monetary liabilities or an action to impose a fine or to limit, suspend or terminate its participation in Title IV programs.
Subsequent to a program review by the Department of Education, the Company recognized that it had not fully complied with all requirements for calculating and making timely returns of Title IV funds (R2T4). In November 2013, the Company returned a total of $102,810 of Title IV funds to the Department of Education.
Delaware Approval to Confer Degrees
Aspen University is a Delaware corporation. Delaware law requires an institution to obtain approval from the Delaware Department of Education (Delaware DOE) before it may incorporate with the power to confer degrees. In July 2012, Aspen received notice from the Delaware DOE that it is granted provisional approval status effective until June 30, 2015 and is currently in the process of applying for either an extension of its provisional approval status or obtain permanent approval status. Aspen University is authorized by the Colorado Commission on Education to operate in Colorado as a degree granting institution.
Letter of Credit
The Company maintains a letter of credit under a DOE requirement (See Note 2 Restricted Cash).
The entire disclosure for commitments and contingencies.
Reference 1: http://www.xbrl.org/2003/role/presentationRef