The new regulation that is giving every online degree program heartburn

If we enroll out-of-state students, even in our online programs, we have to be authorized by every state involved.  I'm beginning to have sympathy for the Republican point of view concerning the fate of the Department of Education.  From the Chronicle of Higher Education.

State-Oversight Rule Draws Protests From Colleges and Congress
Under the Higher Education Act, colleges must be legally authorized to provide postsecondary education in every state where they operate.

But the law does not specify how states should approve colleges, leaving it to state lawmakers and administrators to set their own standards for approval.

The result has been a patchwork of policies at the state level. Some states, like Hawaii and Wyoming, allow colleges to operate with only a business license. Others, including New York and Ohio, send teams of reviewers to scrutinize applicants. A number of states, including California, defer their decision to accreditors, deeming institutions "authorized" if they have regional accreditation.

There is even more variety in how states regulate distance education, according to a 2006 survey by Dow Lohnes, a law firm. In some states, only colleges with branch campuses in the state must seek approval. Others require any college that even advertises in the state to be authorized.

Until recently the Education Department took a hands-off approach to the law. Before certifying a college to award federal aid, officials would confirm that it was authorized in its home state and states with physical campuses. But officials didn't check whether an institution was authorized in every state in which it enrolled students, and they didn't punish institutions that weren't.


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