Annual report pursuant to Section 13 and 15(d)

Commitments and Contingencies

Commitments and Contingencies
12 Months Ended
Apr. 30, 2017
Commitments and Contingencies Disclosure [Abstract]  
Commitments and Contingencies

Note 10. Commitments and Contingencies

Line of Credit

The Company maintained a line of credit with a bank, up to a maximum credit line of $250,000. The line of credit bore interest equal to the prime rate plus 0.50% (overall interest rate of 4.00% at April 30, 2016). The line of credit required minimum monthly payments consisting of interest only. The line of credit was 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 was 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 would have been 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 April 30, 2016 was $1,783. Since the earliest the line of credit could have been due and payable was over a five year period and the Company believed that it could obtain a comparable replacement line of credit elsewhere, the entire line of credit was included in long-term liabilities. The unused amount under the line of credit available to the Company at April 30, 2016 was $248,217. In September 2016, the line of credit with the bank was paid and terminated.

In August 2016, the Company closed on a $3 million credit line with its largest shareholder. The credit line, whose terms included a 12% per annum interest rate on drawn funds and a 2% per annum interest rate on undrawn funds.  The Company initially drew down $750,000 under the line, of which approximately $248,000 was used to repay a secured line of credit with a bank as noted above. Additionally, the Company paid a 2% origination fee of $60,000 and issued 62,500 common-stock warrants at an exercise price of $2.40 per share, which are redeemable by the Company if the closing price of its common stock averages at least $3.00 per share for 10 consecutive trading days.  The origination fee and $52,500 value of the 62,500 warrants (see Note 11) were recorded as debt discounts to be amortized over the term of the line. In January of 2017, the company drew an additional $500,000 and drew another $900,000 in March 2017 to use as a down payment for the USU acquisition (See Note 16.).  The entire balance of $2,150,000 plus interest was paid and the letter of credit was terminated on April 7, 2017 as part of the $7,500,000 equity raise. The unamortized balance of the origination fees were expensed at that time. (See Note 11 and 16.)

Operating Leases

The Company recently signed an 18 month lease for its corporate headquarters in New York, New York, commencing June 7, 2016. The monthly rent is $7,667.

The Company leases office space for its developers in Dieppe, NB, Canada under a three year agreement commencing March 1, 2017. The monthly rent payment is $2,049 Canadian which is approximately $1,872 US.

The Company leases office space for its Denver, Colorado location under a two year lease commencing January 1, 2017. The monthly rent payment is $10,483.

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.

The following is a schedule by years of future minimum rental payments required under operating leases that have initial or remaining noncancelable lease terms in excess of one year as of April 30, 2017:

Year Ending April 30,

































Total minimum payments required





Rent expense for the years ended April 30, 2017 and 2016 were $338,196 and $239,658, respectively.

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 are performance-based in nature. As of April 30, 2017, no performance bonuses have been earned.  

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 April 30, 2017, 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 claims.  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.

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 sought 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. That matter has been fully and finally settled for $69,000 as of June 2016 and has been dismissed. The Company accrued $87,500 in accordance with ASC 450-20-55-11 and was included in accrued expenses at April 30, 2016.  The amount owed was paid in the fiscal year ended April 30, 2017.

Regulatory Matters

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. 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 2016 represented approximately 28% 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 had 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. In November of 2015, the DOE informed Aspen that they no longer need to post a letter of credit. It was subsequently released. The DOE may impose additional or different terms and conditions in any final provisional program participation agreement that it may issue.

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 (“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.

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