NAICU Washington Update

House Supports Repeal of Credit Hour/State Authorization Regs

March 13, 2012

By a wide bipartisan margin, the House of Representatives approved legislation to repeal the state authorization (including distance education provisions) and federal credit-hour definition regulations issued by the Department of Education in October 2010.  The final vote was 303 to 114.

NAICU strongly and actively supported this legislation (see 6/14/11 Washington Update), with NAICU members responding enthusiastically to the call to contact their representatives to express support for the measure.  In addition, NAICU joined 98 other higher education associations and accreditation organizations in a letter endorsing the legislation

Before passing the measure (H.R. 2117), the House considered several amendments to it, but voted down most of them.  By voice vote, however, it did agree to an amendment offered by Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) to repeal a section of the credit hour regulation requiring a program to be categorized as a clock hour program if a state requires it to be measured in clock hours.

The measure now goes to the Senate, where a companion bill (S. 1297) introduced by Sens. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) has attracted 23 other cosponsors (see July 13, 2011, Washington Update).  

The Senate bill's prospects are uncertain, however, given that some members don't wish to make any changes to the broader package of regulations of which these two provisions are a part.  NAICU has supported the vast majority of these regulations, which are aimed at curbing fraud and abuse, but feels strongly that the state authorization and credit hour definition provisions miss their intended targets.

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