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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
- $500 Million in Higher Ed. Grants Involving OER Announced
September 21, 2012
Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Labor announced the college and university winners of its second-round grants under the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Trai…
- 'E-Mail Wiretapping' Prosecutions Could Increase in the Future
January 1, 2005
"A federal appeals court ruling in Boston last week on e-mail wiretapping is reverberating throughout the Internet community—and legal world—with a consensus emerging that there may be pro…
February 3, 2010
In a new book, Piracy: The Intellectual Property Wars from Gutenberg to Gates (University of Chicago Press), Adrian Johns details the long history of the term and its battles, arguing tha…
- 'The Hammer's Coming'
January 1, 2007
"A program called cGrid took center stage at a hearing held by the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee on Thursday — the latest in a series of meetings convened by the commit…
- "Bag It and Tag It": Implementing a Course-Level Learning Portfolio Using CMS-Based Tools to Document Student Learning When Teaching in Wild, Open Spaces with Cloud-Based Tools (Pilot Program/Emerging Technology)
February 14, 2011
A session at the ELI Annual Meeting 2011
As more of us adopt cloud-based tools (e.g., blogs, wikis, Google Docs, etc.) for use by students in authentic learning activities, we find ourselves without the student-produced artifacts that we …
- "Caught in the Act" Raising Student Awareness of Safe Computing Practices
January 1, 2004
In the past three years, computer security incidents at higher education institutions have increased tremendously, and the University of Buffalo (UB) is no exception. Students have lost UB IT acc…
- "Future of the Internet" Hearing Addresses Network Neutrality Issue
April 23, 2008
The Senate Commerce Committee held a full committee hearing regarding "The Future of the Internet" on April 22. Witnesses presented differing views on network neutrality regulations…
- "Policy@EDU": Larry Clinton on Higher Education's Role in Cybersecurity
September 11, 2009
The September/October edition of EDUCAUSE Review focuses on an issue that is of great concern to the higher education community: cybersecurity. Internet Security Alliance CEO and President Larr…
- "Sharing and Fairness: Rights and Responsibilities"
January 11, 2006
This is the podcast of the second general session of EDUCAUSE's 2006 Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference. This session was recorded on Wednesday, January 11, 2006. The session featured panelist…
- "Ten Years of Chilled Innovation"
January 1, 2005
That's the fallout from the Supreme Court ruling on file-sharing technologies, says Creative Commons chair and law prof Larry Lessig. That's …