Unpopular federal rules still might have life

HEA talks could involved state authorization rules.

Online education policy analysts say a set of federal regulations aimed at web-based college programs, struck down by a U.S. Court of Appeals, could re-emerge in Congress’s debate over the next Higher Education Act (HEA) renewal.

“State authorization” regulations would have required colleges with online programs to register courses in every state in which they operate—a hugely expensive undertaking for many colleges. Before the court ruling against the rules, many colleges and universities said they no longer would offer online classes in states with the most arduous regulatory standards.

Failure to abide by state authorization rules would have cut off federal aid to non-compliant colleges.…Read More

College president: Improved federal rules needed to cut costs, grow online education

Thanks in part to the more than 150 new rules and regulations which emerged from the current version of the HEOA, higher education in America has never been more expensive, Ebersole writes.

While still wrestling with the many initiatives and regulations spawned by the 2007 renewal of the Higher Education and Opportunity Act (HEOA), it is already time for colleges and universities to start worrying about 2013, and how an updated HEOA could expand — or shrink — online education.

Hopefully, Congress and the U.S. Department of Education will see their coming negotiations as an opportunity, and unlike the current version, will use any new legislation to reduce the cost of education, improve access, and provide incentives for innovation.

Thanks in part to the more than 150 new rules and regulations which emerged from the current version of the HEOA, higher education in America has never been more expensive for students in the traditional lecture hall or the online classroom.…Read More

Congressional eLearning caucus could prove its worth in 2013

Analysts doubt Congress will finalize HEA reauthorization in 2013.

Online education advocates will have a legislative dog in the fight to reauthorize the Higher Education Act next year, thanks to a rare bipartisan charge to include web-based courses in national policy discussions.

The HEA, a law first passed in 1965 and last reauthorized in 2007, is due for an update next year. And while the occupant of the White House and the composition of Congress could be much different by January, educational technology leaders for the first time have a team of Congressional representation in the newly-formed eLearning caucus.

The caucus, formed in October by Congress members from the House’s political poles, will help push eLearning to the forefront of the legislative haggling sure to ensue when HEA reauthorization takes center stage, policy experts said.…Read More

The top 10 higher-ed tech stories of 2010: No. 6

Colleges that don't do enough to combat piracy will lose federal funding

Thanks to a federal law that went into effect in July, colleges and universities that don’t do enough to combat the illegal sharing of digital movies or music over their computer networks put themselves at risk of losing federal funding.

A provision of the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 is making schools a reluctant ally in the entertainment industry’s campaign to stamp out unauthorized distribution of copyrighted music, movies, and TV shows.

Colleges and universities must put in place plans “to effectively combat the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material by users of the institution’s network” without hampering legitimate educational and research use, according to the new regulations. That means goodbye to peer-to-peer file-sharing on a few campuses—with exceptions for gamers or open-source software junkies—as well as gentle warnings on others and extensive education programs everywhere else.…Read More