Quarterly report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d)

Commitments and Contingencies

Commitments and Contingencies
6 Months Ended
Oct. 31, 2018
Commitments and Contingencies Disclosure [Abstract]  
Commitments and Contingencies

Note 6. Commitments and Contingencies

Operating Leases


On September 18, 2017 the Company signed a six year lease for its corporate headquarters in New York, NY. The annum amount is $186,060, payable at a rate of $15,505 per month and then increased to $16,370 per month in December 2018.

In October 2018, the Company signed a 62 month lease beginning October 1, 2018 and expires on December 31, 2023 for our office located in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada. The monthly rent is $13,241 CAD which is approximately $10,100 USD.

The Company leases office space for its developers in Dieppe, New Brunswick, Canada under a three year agreement commencing March 1, 2017. The monthly rent payment is $4,367 CAD which is approximately $3,200 USD. This lease is now terminated.

The Company leases office space for its Denver, Colorado location under a two year lease commencing January 1, 2017. The monthly rent payment is $10,756.

On December 5, 2017 the Company signed a 92 month lease for the campus located in Phoenix, Arizona. The operating lease granted eight initial months of free rent and had a monthly rent of $66,696 and increases after month 12. Related to this lease the Company produced a security deposit of $519,271, which is included in other assets and security deposits on the accompanying consolidated balance sheet.

On February 1, 2016, the Company entered into a 64-month lease agreement for its call center in Phoenix, Arizona. The operating lease granted four initial months of free rent and had a base monthly rent of $10,718 and then increases 2% per year after.

United States University’s lease commenced July 1, 2016 and expires on June 30, 2022. The initial monthly base rent was $51,270 for the first 10 months and increase each year.

Employment Agreements

From time to time, the Company enters into employment agreements with certain of its employees. These agreements typically include bonuses, some of which may or may not be performance-based in nature.

Legal Matters

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, 2018, 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, Higher Education Management Group, Inc, (“HEMG”) and its Chairman, Mr. Patrick 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 Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”)  and the United States Department of Education (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 December 10, 2013, the Company  filed a series of counterclaims against HEMG and Mr. Spada in the same state court of New York. By 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.

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 maybe 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.

In November 2014, the Company and Aspen University sued HEMG seeking to recover sums due under two 2008 Agreements where Aspen University sold course materials to HEMG in exchange for long-term future payments. On September 29, 2015, the Company and Aspen University obtained a default judgment in the amount of $772,793. This default judgment precipitated the bankruptcy petition discussed in the next paragraph.

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. The bankrupt estate’s sole asset consists of 208,000 shares of AGI common stock, plus a claim filed by the bankruptcy trustee against Spada’s brother and a third party to recover approximately 167,000 shares. The Company filed a proof of claim against the bankruptcy estate which included approximately $670,000 on the judgment and approximately $2.2 million from the misappropriation. The other creditor is a secured creditor which alleges it is owed the  principal amount of $1,200,000. AGI alleges that because HEMG, a Nevada corporation, had failed to pay annual fees to Nevada it lacked the legal authority to create the security interest and that AGI has priority.

Regulatory Matters

The Company’s subsidiaries, Aspen University and United States University, are 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 the subsidiaries 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.

On August 22, 2017, the DOE informed Aspen University of its determination that the institution has qualified to participate under the HEA and the Federal student financial assistance programs (Title IV, HEA programs) and set a subsequent program participation agreement reapplication date of March 31, 2021.

USU currently has provisional certification to participate in the Title IV Programs due to its acquisition by the Company. The provisional certification allows the school to continue to receive Title IV funding as it did prior to the change of ownership.

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 and USU operate in a highly regulated industry, each 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.

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 DOE during calendar year 2013, 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 DOE. In the two most recent fiscal years (2015 and 2016), Aspen's compliance audit reflected no material findings related to the 2013 program review findings.

On February 8, 2017, the DOE issued a Final Program Review Determination (“FPRD”) letter related to the 2013 program review. The FRPD includes a summary of the non-compliance areas and calculations of amounts due for the 126 students that they reviewed. We had 45 days to appeal the amounts calculated and while we were reviewing their calculations, we recognized that we would owe some amount in the range from $80,000 to $360,000. In accordance with ASC 450-20, we recorded a minimum liability of $80,000 at January 31, 2017. Of that amount, $55,000 was recorded against the accounts receivable reserve and $25,000 was expensed. In late March 2017, we agreed to not contest the calculations and paid the full amount of $378,090. As a result, we recorded an additional expense of $298,090 in the fiscal quarter ended April 30, 2017.

Subsequent to a compliance audit, in 2015, Educacion Significativa, LLC (“ESL”) the predecessor to USU recognized that it had not fully complied with all requirements for calculating and making timely returns of Title IV funds (R2T4). In 2016, ESL the predecessor to USU, had a material finding related to the same issue and is required to maintain a letter of credit in the amount of $71,634 as a result of this finding. The letter of credit has been provided to the Department of Education by AGI since it assumed this obligation in its purchase of USU.

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 was granted provisional approval status effective until June 30, 2015. On April 25, 2016 the Delaware DOE informed Aspen University it was granted full approval to operate with degree-granting authority in the State of Delaware until July 1, 2020. Aspen University is authorized by the Colorado Commission on Education to operate in Colorado as a degree granting institution.

USU is also a Delaware corporation and filed the required documents to obtain Delaware approval.