The Big Picture

The big news this week was the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) at the Department of Education (ED) finding that Western Governors University (WGU) should be considered a correspondence provider instead of a distance education provider, and the school should return more than $700 million in Title IV federal funding programs. ((Full disclosure and Update: WGU is a past client of MindWires. Although we have no recent or pending relationship with WGU, since the topic was raised at Hack Education, I have added this disclosure.)) In short, being ruled a correspondence provider would mean that most student loans and Pell grants would not apply for WGU students and would all but shut down the institution or make it irrelevant. While the ED itself is unlikely to follow these non-binding recommendations, this ruling will have a big impact for years. More on that in tomorrow’s post. For now, the title loans for college students are the best option right now.

It would be useful to first review the actual audit findings, especially since most media reporting focused mostly or solely on the issue of “regular and substantive interaction”, but the findings are broader and also encompass issues are self-paced vs. credit-hour / term-based education.

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