Online course regulation would burden states

Dive Brief:

  • The U.S. Department of Education’s proposed regulations for online education programs that operate across state lines could create a new headache for state regulators.
  • New regulations would require the providers of online courses to obtain approval from every state they enroll students in. States would not be allowed to exempt an online educator from their formal review if that provider is accredited, which is now a common practice.
  • Many state regulators say that requirement would unfairly burden them with a significant number of reviews, some of which would be for out-of-state institutions with only a few students in the regulator’s state.

Dive Insight:

As online education expands, this would be a growing problem for the states. According to Inside Higher Ed, more than half of the states would have to change their laws or regulations to accommodate the Department of Education’s proposal. Educational institutions have to be authorized by state regulators to qualify for federal student aid programs. Starting in July, colleges have to follow state procedures for authorization, and the Department of Education sets minimum standards for those authorizations. States would be allowed to use reciprocity agreements with other states to allow online course providers to obtain approval from multiple states at once. But the department would not allow states to provide other exemptions to the approval process.

Recommended Reading

Inside Higher Ed: Fight on State Authorization