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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
- Top-Ten IT Issues, 2013: Welcome to the Connected Age
June 3, 2013
EDUCAUSE presents the top-ten IT-related issues facing higher education institutions. In this article, members of the 2012-2013 EDUCAUSE IT Issues Panel frame each issue with discussion and a …
- "Someone is going to write the software that eats higher education"
September 5, 2012
Kevin Carey, director of the New America Foundation’s education policy program and previously policy director at Education Sector, has actively engaged in the debates around the potential of te…
- State reciprocity agreements as a path to solve state authorization
October 14, 2011
Today's Inside Higher Ed contains an article discussing the development of state reciprocity agreements as a likely path toward resolving the difficulties state authorization processes …
- The Campus Computing Project: Two Decades of Data, Information, and Insight About IT Planning and Policy Issues
November 5, 2010
Begun in 1990, the Campus Computing Project is the largest continuing study of the role of computing, e-learning, and information technology in U.S. higher education. This session with Casey Gree…
- Current IT Issues, 2005
January 1, 2005
© 2005 Leslie Maltz, Peter B. DeBlois, and the EDUCAUSE Current Issues Committee EDUCAUSE Review , vol. 40, no. 3 (May/June 2005): 14–29. What’s hot now? What has changed sinc…
- Current IT Issues: 2004
January 1, 2004
© 2004 Donald Z. Spicer and Peter B. DeBlois EDUCAUSE Review, vol. 39, no. 3 (May/June 2004): 12–26. Donald Z. Spicer is Chair of the 2004 EDUCAUSE Current Issues Committee and CIO f…
- Effective Use of Streaming Media for E-Learning and Its Impact on IT Planning and Operations
January 1, 2002
In order to use streaming media to support learning, significant infrastructure needs to be in place for operations, training, design, development, and production. In this session, we will focus on…
- Organizational Models for Delivering Distance Learning
January 22, 2002
This Research Bulletin describes the organizational models adopted by six university systems or multi-campus universities that are delivering distance education. These models may help other insti…
- From Managing Expenditures to Managing Costs - Strategic Management for Information Technology
January 1, 2001
Excerpt from the book Dollars, Distance, and Online Education: The New Economics of College Teaching and Learning . Excerpt from the book Dollars,…