Online college officials cheer court ruling on controversial federal regulation

Some online colleges said they would withdraw from small states if state authorization rules were implemented.

The U.S. Court of Appeals on June 5 sided with an earlier court ruling that would eliminate a federal regulation that higher-education officials characterized as heavy handed and a potentially devastating blow for online learning.

The court’s decision to “vacate” state authorization rules—which would require colleges with online programs to register courses in every state in which they operate—followed a 2011 U.S. District Court decision to strike down the law.

Eliminating the distance-education portion of the state authorization regulation was based purely on procedural grounds: The appeals court charged that the U.S. Department of Education (ED) did not comply with a federal rulemaking process that would provide the online community the chance to add comments and suggestions before implementation of the regulation.…Read More

Commission examining federal rule that could ‘impede access’ to online education

The commission will have an adviser from the Education Department.

A group of influential policy makers will review a federal regulation that has drawn the scorn of online college officials who say the government rule could leave students in small states without access to web-based courses.

“State authorization” rules have been at the center of an ongoing debate among federal officials pushing colleges to register online programs in every state in which they operate, and campus decision makers who call the law onerous and overreaching.

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) lost a court battle over the state authorization rules last year, but ED officials have continued to push for the regulations. And the U.S. House of Representatives in February voted to eliminate state authorization rules in a rare bipartisan vote.…Read More