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New U.S. Dept. of Ed. Site on State Authorization, Gainful Employment, and More

The U.S. Department of Education has created a new Q&A site regarding its program integrity regulations for federal financial aid programs (http://www2.ed.gov/policy/highered/reg/hearulemaking/2009/integrity-qa.html) that took effect July 1 (except for the extension of its state authorization requirements to distance learning, which was overturned by a federal court last month). Topics addressed include state authorization, the federal definition of a credit hour, gainful employment standards and reporting, and criteria for the return of student aid funds when students withdraw prior to completion of the term. As discussed in previous blog posts, the department's program integrity regulations have unique implications for online/distance learning programs, so academic administrators with online learning responsibilities may want to join their student financial aid colleagues in getting to know this site.