NAICU Washington Update

Education Department Set to Enforce State Complaint Process Requirements

March 07, 2014

The Department of Education has issued a guidance letter reminding institutions that the 2010 program integrity regulations require states to have student complaint processes covering all institutions. Issuance of this letter signals that the Department is preparing to enforce this portion of the regulation.

Specifically, the regulation requires that each state must have “a process to review and appropriately act on complaints concerning the institution including enforcing applicable State laws.” In addition, each institution must include in its student disclosures the contact information for the appropriate state agency or agencies where complaints may be made. An institution will be required to identify the state complaint process available to its students during the recertification process, or in response to an inquiry from the Department of Education.

The complaint process requirement is one of three state authorization requirements included in the 2010 regulations. The regulations also required that institutions be authorized by name to offer postsecondary education in a state and contained provisions related to authorization of distance education programs. The distance education portion of the regulation was struck down in court and is not currently in effect. The Department has initiated a new negotiated rulemaking process to address the issue. (See Negotiated Rulemaking Committee Begins Work on Multiple Regulatory Fronts for additional information.)

For additional background on the state authorization regulations, see these earlier stories in Washington Update:

MORE News from NAICU