NAICU Washington Update

Dept. of Ed. Offers New Info on Recent Regulations

September 08, 2011

One thing is for sure . . . the Department of Education's new regulations on state authorization, credit hour, gainful employment, and other rules are keeping a lot of federal workers busy.

On September 2, the Department unveiled a new website on the 14 program integrity regulations first issued last October, including many (but not all) of the clarifications that have been issued over past months. The new site gathers and consolidates questions and answers on the regulations. The Department already had a website devoted to the complex gainful employment regulations, but this expanded version also addresses other integrity regulations:  credit hour definition, state authorization, satisfactory academic progress, incentive compensation, ability to benefit, return of Title IV funds, and misrepresentation.

Those looking for further guidance on state authorization requirements relating to distance education won't find it on this site - though a spot is "reserved" for such guidance.  The Department is likely to make additional information available in the future through updates to the site.

In addition to the new website, the Department also issued its 19th clarification on the gainful employment rules on August 31.  This one deals with preparatory courses that are prerequisites the institution deems necessary for admission to a degree or certificate program. The Department has determined that, while eligible for federal student loans, these courses aren't considered gainful-employment programs, so shouldn't be included in the institution's gainful-employment calculation.  Students in preparatory courses of study may receive loans for one period of 12 consecutive months. 

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