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Business and Policy Areas
Business and Policy Areas

Higher Education Community Expresses Concerns with Distance Education Proposal

September 1, 2016

In a recent letter to the Department of Education, NACUBO and 16 other higher education associations outlined issues with the department’s latest proposal on state authorization for online education across state lines and for foreign campuses.

ED has been attempting to develop substantive regulations on state authorization for institutions offering distance education since 2010. Both the higher education community and the judicial system have had mixed responses to the ongoing efforts. 

The department’s latest attempt, outlined in a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) published on July 25, addresses many of the concerns the higher education community had with earlier versions; however, there are still some areas of concern. 

In the letter to ED, the higher education associations requested  more specifics in a number of areas  and recommended amending certain proposals to relieve undue burden on colleges and universities. Primary areas of concern include unclear distinctions between distance “programs” and distance “courses,” increased disclosure requirements, and potentially difficult authorization requirements for foreign locations and campuses.

ED is expected to publish final rules by November 1, in order for them to take effect July 1, 2017. 


Liz Clark
Senior Director, Federal Affairs

Anne Gross
Vice President, Regulatory Affairs