RICHMOND, Va. - Virginia Tech could be fined or lose federal aid because it broke the law by waiting too long to notify students during a 2007 shooting rampage, according to a federal report issued yesterday.

The U.S Department of Education had found in January that the school violated federal law with its response during the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, but gave Tech a chance to respond to the finding in its preliminary report. Federal officials rebuffed Tech's arguments that it met standards in place at the time in Thursday's final report.

"While Virginia Tech failed to adequately warn students that day, we recognize that the university has put far-reaching changes in place since that time to help improve campus safety and better protect its students and community," U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan said.

The university disputed the findings, and spokesman Larry Hincker said the school likely will appeal the decision.