EDUCAUSE Comments: Dept. of Ed. Guidance on Third-Party Servicers (TPSs)
EDUCAUSE submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Education (ED) on March 7, 2023, in response to a “Dear Colleague Letter” (DCL) from ED reinterpreting the department’s regulatory guidance on “Third-Party Servicers” (TPSs). EDUCAUSE’s analysis indicates that the new guidance may extend TPS regulatory requirements to any contractual relationship an institution might have with a digital content, software, systems, or services provider. Those requirements include new reporting mandates for institutions as well as reporting and compliance audit mandates for providers that become designated as TPSs due to the guidance. They also include a ban on any foreign owned or located firms serving as TPSs. Given the likelihood that the guidance will significantly disrupt institutional IT operations, EDUCAUSE urged ED to withdraw the DCL and revise it to give it a clear, realistic scope that does not entail an assertion of regulatory authority over the higher education IT market writ large.