EDUCAUSE Comments: Distance Education State Authorization Regulations


On August 24, 2016, EDUCAUSE joined with other higher education associations and organizations to respond to pending distance education state authorization regulations developed by the U.S. Department of Education (ED).

Working with the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET), the University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA), and other groups focused on distance education development and delivery, EDUCAUSE asked ED to clarify its definition of “state authorization reciprocity agreements” to support ED’s recognition of state reciprocity as an appropriate path for regulatory compliance. The participating organizations also requested that ED refine its proposed requirements on state complaint process disclosure to enable institutions to comply with them.

In addition, EDUCAUSE joined a letter led by the American Council on Education (ACE) and other higher education presidential and professional associations to address another set of issues raised by the proposed regulations. The letter asked ED to resolve the problematic use of “courses” as opposed to “programs” in the regulations, noting that the relevant law concerned “programs” eligible for federal student aid. It also indicated that ED’s proposed rules introducing new foreign government authorization requirements for institutions’ international locations and branch campuses would complicate their operation and potentially compromise their academic integrity. The participating associations thus requested that ED remove those provisions from the final regulations.

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