Main Nav

State Authorization Fallout Continues: New Natl. Commission on Distance Ed. Reg.

The repercussions of the U.S. Department of Education (ED) regulations extending state authorization requirements to online/distance learning continue with this week’s launch by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) and the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO) of a new national commission to study the problems of online/distance education regulation led by former U.S. Secretary of Education and Governor of South Carolina, Richard Riley. The then-impending implementation of the regulations roughly around this time last year drew attention to a major gray area in the regulation of online/distance learning—through their online course and program offerings, many colleges and universities may have been violating state laws for years that require postsecondary education providers to be authorized by a state in order to legally deliver courses and programs within its jurisdiction. By linking the federal financial aid eligibility of students in such programs to institutional compliance with the authorization laws in the states in which the students reside, the ED regulations created a firestorm of concern about the difficulty institutions face in identifying and complying with the requirements of each state in which they have students.

Since then, ED has lost and appealed a federal court case challenging the regulations; the Presidents’ Forum, an organization of leaders from online learning providers led by Excelsior College, initiated an effort with the Council of State Governments to establish a reciprocity agreement on postsecondary authorization across the states; and the U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill seeking to overturn the regulations. Into this mix, APLU and SHEEO have initiated their effort—the Commission on Regulation of Postsecondary Distance Education. In addition to former Secretary Riley, the Commission membership includes current and former state leaders and officials, presidents and provosts from for- and non-profit institutions with significant online programs, accreditors, and higher education association representatives (including the presidents of both APLU and SHEEO). The Commission’s goal is to find solutions for “the regulatory costs and inefficiencies faced by postsecondary institutions that must comply with multiple and often inconsistent state laws and regulations when providing educational opportunities in multiple state jurisdictions” that still enable “appropriate government oversight and consumer protection for distance education.”

The Commission will hold its first meeting on June 12 and plans to hold one or two meetings over the remainder of 2012 to gather input from other interested parties. The Commission charge indicates that the group’s formal report will most likely be issued in January or February 2013. Given the strong interest of the EDUCAUSE IT leadership and e-learning communities in the issues the Commission will consider, EDUCAUSE Policy staff will closely follow its development and impact on the broader e-learning policy debate.


its great to be on your site. i do love the manner you have presented the specific idea on education. would like to share you idea with friends. Would be waiting for more good stuffs on education. Thanks

Its Really Nice Article I Ever Had Read. Basically Am From India And There Are Many distance Education in mumbai Or Other Places In India. And We Want That Distance Education Will Spread For Those People Who Need Education.