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The Department of Education published an extensive list of new regulations slated to take effect July 1, 2011. While these regulations are aimed at overseeing federal aid for distance learning, they have campus wide implications including a federal definition of credit hours and new costs in certification. A House hearing on March 11, 2011 raised a number of concerns about the effect on campuses. David Moltz published an excellent article reviewing the hearing and providing more information about the context and details of this issue.
Of current interest to the EDUCAUSE community is the requirement, termed "State Authorization", that campuses offering distance learning obtain certification from each student's home state that the distance-ed program meets that state's requirements. EDUCAUSE believes these regulations are unnecessary and compliance is overly burdensome to higher ed. Untouched, the regulations and their compliance deadline will have adverse effects on distance and hybrid learning programs at a time when demand for them is greater than ever.
What We're Doing About It
EDUCAUSE has joined with over 70 higher education and accrediation associations to urge the government to make changes to these new rules. We have sent joint letters to the Dept. of Education and to leaders on the relevent Congressional committees to reconsider this policy, or at least provide more time and resources for institutions to become compliant. Additionally, we have created this resource page and have added State Authorization as one of our major issues; look for more information and activity coming from EDUCAUSE on this issue in the coming months.
On July 27th, 2012, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) that confirmed ED will no longer seek to enforce the current federal student aid regulation extending state authorization requirements to distance education, by way of a "Dear Colleague Letter" (DCL) sent to institutions.
- Tracking SARA: An Update on the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement, EDUCAUSE Live! Novenmber 14, 2012.
- USDOE Will Not Enforce Its Distance Ed State Authorization Regs, but Questions Remain, WCET blog post.
- Letter from Department of Education.
- Analysis by Russ Poulin (WCET) of Dep. of Education letter.
- Lawsuit filed by Career College Association seeking to delay implementation of regulations.
- Resource page maintained by WCET. This is an excellent, comprehensive site, including a detailed analysis of the regulation and a great deal of additional original material.
- The actual State Authorization regulation from the Department of Education.
- The Web page for WCET's "State Approval 'Starter' List", a document summarizing distance-education requirements in all states. Note: SHEEO (State Higher Education Executive Officers) may soon take over responsibility for updating this resource.
- Aug. 2, 2010 letter from ACE and other higher-ed associations (including EDUCAUSE) to the Department of Education expressing concern about State Authorization and a number of other new regulations.
- March 2, 2011 letter from ACE and others (including EDUCAUSE) focused specifically on the State Authorization issue.
- March 11, 2011 letter from ACE and others (including EDUCAUSE) to Rep. Virginia Foxx asking for Congressional pressure to extend the compliance deadline by one year.
- June 10, 2011 letter from ACE, EDUCAUSE and many others to Rep. Virginia Foxx thanking her for introducing H.R. 2117 to congress, legislation that would repeal the regulation in Section 600.2 creating a federal definition of a credit hour.
Updated November 2012
Library Items on this Topic
EDUCAUSE Library Items for State Authorization
- U.S. Dept. of Ed. Links State Authorization and Gainful Employment Regs.
October 31, 2014
Russ Poulin, Deputy Director of Research and Analysis at WCET, has posted an initial update on the U.S. Department of Education's new gainful employment regulations and the suprising link th…
- ED Delays Deadline for State Authorization Compliance for In-State Institutions
October 23, 2014
On June 24, the Department of Education (ED) published a notice in the Federal Register postponing state authorization compliance until July 1, 2015, for higher education institutions opera…
- Sloan-C, UPCEA, and WCET Send Letter to ED on State Authorization
June 26, 2014
In a June 13 letter to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, the Sloan Consortium (Sloan-C), University Professional & Continuing Education Association (UPCEA), and WICHE Cooperative for Ed…
- State Authorization
State Authorization True Background The Department…
- Department of Ed Releases Draft Regulatory Language on State Authorization
April 28, 2014
On April 16, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) released the proposal drafted by an ED-appointed negotiated rulemaking committee that would require a higher education institution to have s…
- ED and Higher Education Associations Look to Address Distance Education Regulations
March 20, 2014
On February 19, a 15-person negotiated rulemaking panel appointed by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) met to begin discussing a variety of issues concerning federal student aid regulations, …
- MOOCsâ€”Key Legal and Policy Issues for Colleges and Universities
July 25, 2013
The National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA), ACE, and EDUCAUAUSE held a webinar on July 25th, 2013 on the key legal and policy issues regarding massive open online course…
- WCET Testimony on Proposed Distance Ed. Federal Regulations
June 11, 2013
As previously reported , the U.S. Department of Education (ED) recently revived the regulatory process it began last summer to address financial aid fraud concerns related to distance educatio…
- State U Online
April 23, 2013
Author Rachel Fishman, examines the most common challenges to implementing successful distance-education programs, including cost, quality, and faculty buy-in. Fishman decribes 5 steps to success…
- SHEEO State Authorization Resources Updated
May 10, 2013
Sharmila Mann, a senior policy analyst at the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO) association, issued the following announcement this week on SHEEO's freshly updated state au…