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House to Vote on State Authorization Repeal Today

Inside Higher Education reports that the U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to vote today on H.R. 2117, a bill to repeal the U.S. Department of Education's "program integrity" regulations mandating a federal definition of the credit hour and state authorization of online/distance learning programs as a condition of program participation in federal student aid. The article notes that the Obama Administration opposes the bill, as do some House Democrats, who have proposed various amendments to it. However, H.R. 2117 did receive some Democratic support in getting voted out of committee for consideration by the full House.

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EDUCAUSE Joins Letter Urging State Authorization Repeal

As mentioned last week, the higher education community anticipates that the U.S. House of Representatives will vote this week on a bill (H.R. 2117) to repeal U.S. Department of Education (ED) regulations mandating state authorization of online/distance learning and a federal definition of the credit hour. The bill also seeks to block any future attempts by ED to institute regulations regarding a federal definition of the credit hour. EDUCAUSE joined a letter released today by the American Council on Education (ACE) and supported by nearly 100 higher education associations and organizations urging House members to vote in favor of H.R. 2117.  We encourage EDUCAUSE members to read the letter and share it with others as appropriate.

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Sen. Bill Would Make State Data Systems, Not IPEDs, Focus of Student Data Reporting

Earlier this month, U. S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced the “Student Right to Know Before You Go” Act (Senate Bill 2098), which proposes to give students, their families, and the public at large a clearer understanding of what the relative costs and economic benefits are from pursuing particular courses of study at given institutions. The bill would achieve this by requiring colleges and universities to report individual student educational records to “statewide individual-level integrated postsecondary education data systems,” which would most likely be existing statewide longitudinal data systems (SLDSs). That would allow the data to be combined with K-12 and workforce data on individuals to permit public reporting of:

House Bill Repealing State Authorization, Fed. Credit Hour Def. Moving to the Floor

The American Council on Education (ACE) announced this morning that H.R. 2117, the House bill submitted last summer to repeal the U.S. Department of Education’s regulations extending state authorization requirements to online/distance learning and establishing a federal definition of the credit hour, will move to a vote of the full U.S. House of Representatives next week. The full text of the ACE notice is provided below.

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State Authorization Appeal Heard Today

Many thanks to Russ Poulin at WCET for uncovering the DC Circuit Court of Appeals hearing calendar (http://www.cadc.uscourts.gov/internet/sixtyday.nsf/fullcalendar?OpenView&count=1000) and highlighting that the U.S. Department of Education's appeal of a federal district court order overturning its state authorization regulations in relation to online distance learning will be heard today:

Tuesday, February 21, 2012 9:30 A.M. USCA Courtroom - Judges Rogers, Edwards, Ginsburg

  • 10-1079 - American Petroleum Institute v. EPA, 20 minutes per side

  • 11-5174 - Association of Private Sector v. Arne Duncan, 20 minutes per side

The Promise of Accessible Technology, Part 3 - Colleges and Universities

At the recent U.S. Senate hearing on technology accessibility that focused largely on higher education, “The Promise of Accessible Technology: Challenges and Opportunities,” Mark Turner, Director of the Center for Accessible Media at the California State University (CSU), presented his perspective on “the issues faced by postsecondary institutions as they work to ensure that technology used to deliver educational programs and services are usable by all students, staff, faculty, and members of the public—irrespective of disability status.” In doing so, he noted that the size and scope of the CSU, with 23 campuses serving 427,000 students a year, meant that the university system as a whole served enough students with disabilities (approximately 11,000) to populate a mid-sized university in their own right.

The Promise of Accessible Technology, Part 2 - NFB

The U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) committee hearing entitled “The Promise of Accessible Technology: Challenges and Opportunities” also featured testimony from the National Federation of the Blind (NFB). Early in his comments, Mark Riccobono, executive director of the NFB Jernigan Institute for blindness research and training and a member of the Postsecondary AIM Commission, stressed the need to move from “the old accommodations model” for addressing accessibility to “a new paradigm of mainstream accessibility”:

The Promise of Accessible Technology, Part 1 - DOJ

The U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee recently convened a hearing entitled “The Promise of Accessible Technology: Challenges and Opportunities.” While the chair, ranking member, and witnesses all commented on the latter, the hearing primarily addressed continuing challenges to realizing the promise of technology in higher education for those with disabilities, drawing in part on the findings and recommendations of the Postsecondary AIM Commission. However, the opening witness, Eve Hill of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of Civil Rights, first reiterated the DOJ’s earlier guidance on college and university technology adoption in relation to accessibility:

Common Education Data Standards, Version 2 (CEDS 2) Released

Last week, the State Higher Education Executives Officers (SHEEO) association announced the release of Common Education Data Standards, Version 2 (CEDS 2) in conjunction with the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and other partner organizations. The timing of the announcement coincided with the launch of a new CEDS website, which provides access to the standards as well as related information and resources.

Provide Input on Proposed Federal "College Scorecard"

In the “Blueprint for College Affordability” released with the 2012 State of the Union address, the Obama Administration proposed establishing “a College Scorecard for all degree-granting institutions” which would present key information on “college costs, graduation rates, and potential earnings” in a way that would help “students and families choose a college that is well suited to their needs, priced affordably and consistent with their career and educational goals.” The White House has now requested public input on a draft scorecard

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