NAICU Washington Update

Dept. Ed. Issues Additional Guidance on State Authorization

August 06, 2012

In a “Dear Colleague” letter issued July 27, the Department of Education provided additional clarification of several aspects of the state authorization regulations published on October 29, 2010.  (See Washington Update December 22, 2010)  The most significant news in the letter is that the Department plans to not enforce the distance education provisions of the regulation.

This comes on the heels of an Appeals Court ruling that struck down the distance education regulation on procedural grounds.  (See Washington Update June 12, 2012 The Department could choose to regulate distance education in the future, but hasn't indicated any plans to do so at this point.

This news, while welcome, doesn't put the issue entirely to rest.  As the guidance letter notes, “institutions continue to be responsible for complying with all State laws as they relate to distance education.”  In addition, still in effect are related regulatory provisions that require an institution offering distance education in multiple states to provide students with contact information for filing complaints in the state where the students are located.

The guidance letter also addresses questions related to the documentation of state authorization, the treatment of other locations and consortia, and the provision of consumer and complaint information.

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