The Department of Education (DOE) released their proposed State Authorization regulations this week as part of the negotiated rulemaking process that seeks to replace previous rules struck down by courts in 2011. While the new process is more transparent than before (which was the basis of the court rulings), the proposed rulings would represent a dramatic increase in federal control of distance education and compliance burden for institutions. Greg Ferenbach from Cooley LLP noted these changes in a listserv discussion at WCET [used by permission from author, emphasis added]:

What I don’t think many folks appreciate … is this proposal would be a huge change from the way things work today. From a quick read, it appears as though the proposal would require all states to authorize distance ed (with no exemptions for accreditation, etc.). Basically, this would be a mandate to either obtain specific state approval or participate in reciprocity as a condition for continuing to offer distance education with federal aid.

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