DELAY OF STATE AUTHORIZATION RULES FOR DISTANCE EDUCATION PROVIDERS

State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement

The Department of Education announced it will delay the effective dates of the controversial state authorization rules that were passed at the end of the Obama administration and set to go into effect on July 1, 2018. The rules, initially introduced in 2010, have been postponed before, and this time the Department expects to delay the effective date until July 1, 2020. The delay will allow the Department to take up the issue in another round of negotiated rulemaking sessions and rewrite the rules.

The regulations mainly delineate State authorization requirements for postsecondary distance education that must be met for participation in the Title IV aid programs. Under the state authorization regulations, online programs were required to obtain approval in each state where they enrolled students. As a result, colleges and universities were left with few options; forced to either seek approval from each state individually unless they were lucky enough to be based in a state with a “State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement” in place, or forgo enrolling students living in states where they weren’t approved. Public comments on the delay are open until June 11, 2018.