NAICU Washington Update

Extension Requests Again Available for State Authorization Regs

June 18, 2013

Updated July 1, 2013:

With the July 1 effective date for state authorization regulations having arrived amidst continued confusion about what is required to meet them, the Department of Education has once again offered a one-year delay in implementation under certain circumstances. To qualify for the delay, an institution must demonstrate that an extension of time will allow it to come into compliance with the regulation by July 1, 2014. As outlined in a May 21 Federal Register notice, the extension process requires that an institution not meeting state authorization requirements obtain an explanation from its state of “how an additional one-year extension will permit the State to modify its procedures to comply.” The institution must provide that explanation to Department staff upon request.

A request for the explanation would most likely be made during an institution’s Title IV recertification review, since enforcement of the authorization requirement is handled through that process. Unfortunately, constantly changing and inconsistent interpretations of the regulatory requirements have made it difficult for many institutions to determine specifically what they need to change, and therefore whether they need an extension. Often, an institution is unaware its authorization is in question until an issue is raised during recertification review.

Confusion abounded earlier this year, when media reports erroneously listed states allegedly out of compliance with the regulations. In fact, to date the Department has no list of properly authorized institutions. However, at a recent hearing of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) asked Education Secretary Arne Duncan to provide a list of states that are out of compliance. Although Duncan initially agreed to provide the list, he was unable to produce anything definitive for the Committee.

For additional background on the state authorization regulations, see this earlier Washington Update story