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Focus on Regulation

Tag Archives: Department of Education

Pursue Innovation or Maintain Eligibility? A Unique Faculty Model Could Cost an Institution $713 Million and its Future Participation in Title IV Programs

Instructor. Regular. Substantive. Those three words, as defined by the U.S. Department of Education (“ED”) Office of Inspector General (“OIG”), resulted in OIG’s recent recommendation that Western Governors University (“WGU”) repay to ED approximately $713 million in federal funds. An otherwise eligible institution loses its ability to participate in federal student financial aid programs under

U.S. Department of Education Announces Further Delays to Borrower Defense to Repayment Regulations

On October 24, the U.S. Department of Education (“ED”) published an interim final rule to delay until July 1, 2018 the effective date of selected provisions of what have become known as the borrower defense to repayment regulations, which were published November 1, 2016. In the interim final rule, ED explained that it believes delay

U.S. Department of Education Delays Borrower Defense to Repayment Regulations, Announces New Negotiated Rulemaking Committees

On June 14, the U.S. Department of Education (“ED”) announced its plan to convene negotiated rulemaking committees to consider revisions to two major sets of regulations that were developed by the Obama Administration.  ED also announced that it would delay indefinitely the implementation of one of those sets of regulations—which was scheduled to take effect

Congress Eliminates Obama-Era Regulations on Teacher Preparation Programs

President Trump signed into law on March 27 a joint resolution to nullify U.S. Department of Education (ED) regulations relating to teacher preparation programs pursuant to the Congressional Review Act (CRA).  As noted in its Statement of Administration Policy, the White House “strongly supports the actions taken . . . to begin to nullify unnecessary

Regional Accrediting Agency Proposes Ban on Paying Recruiters of International Students

On March 27, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (“Middle States”) released for public comment a draft policy on its expectations for honesty and truthfulness in published information and in student recruitment practices. Among other things, the policy would prohibit Middle States-accredited institutions from paying commissions to agents to recruit international students. Middle States

U.S. Department of Education Issues Guidance on Third-Party Servicers

On August 18, the U.S. Department of Education issued a series of questions and answers related to “third-party servicers”.  This recent guidance follows the issuance of a Dear Colleague Letter in January 2015 that addressed institutional responsibilities and requirements for institutions participating in the Title IV federal student financial aid programs that choose to enter

Beyond Bathrooms: New Guidance Regarding Transgender Students Addresses FERPA Requirements

The U.S. Department of Education and Department of Justice recently weighed in on the obligations of school districts, colleges, and universities to provide civil rights protections for transgender students. On May 13, 2016, the Departments issued a Dear Colleague Letter that summarizes the responsibilities of school districts, colleges, and universities that receive federal financial assistance under the Departments’ interpretation of federal law, including Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act. Here, we focus on the DCL’s guidance pertinent to compliance with FERPA.

Court of Appeals Rejects Challenge to Gainful Employment Rule

On March 8, a the three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit affirmed a lower court’s decision rejecting a challenge to the U.S. Department of Education’s “gainful employment” regulations. The regulations, which took effect July 1, 2015 (with the exception of certain disclosure requirements that will take effect

NSF and NASA Remind Grantee Institutions to Comply with Title IX

On January 25, the National Science Foundation issued a statement to remind the 2,000 colleges, universities, and other institutions that receive NSF funding that NSF requires its awardees to comply with Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, which prohibits educational funding recipients from engaging in sex discrimination, including sexual harassment and gender violence.

NSF’s statement, which follows multiple recent reports of sexual harassment in the science community, “reiterates [NSF’s] unwavering dedication to inclusive workplaces. NSF does not tolerate sexual harassment and encourages members of the scientific community who experience such harassment to report such behavior immediately.” NSF also encouraged NSF-funded researchers and students to “hold colleagues accountable to the standards and conditions set forth in Title IX, and to inform their institutions of violations.” NSF directs people who experience or witness harassment to contact their Title IX Coordinator or NSF’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

Department of Education OCR Releases Guidance on Title IX Coordinator(s)

On April 24, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights released a three-document guidance package regarding the role and responsibility of Title IX coordinators. As summarized in a statement by Catherine E. Lhamon, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, the guidance package emphasizes the responsibility of school districts, colleges, and universities to designate a

Office for Civil Rights Issues New Case Processing Manual

At the end of February 2015, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued a new Case Processing Manual, which updates (and supersedes) its 2010 manual. As described in the manual’s introduction, it provides “the procedures to promptly and effectively investigate and resolve complaints, compliance reviews and directed investigations to ensure compliance with

State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement Draft Released

The Presidents’ Forum and the Council of State Governments recently released a first draft of a model interstate agreement pertinent to state authorization for distance education.  The State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (“SARA”) aims to reduce barriers to distance education through more efficient state regulation.  Under SARA, an institution that is approved in its “home state”

D.C. Circuit Addresses Department of Education “Program Integrity” Rules

On June 5 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued a decision that invalidates parts of the Department of Education’s “program integrity” regulations but for the most part upholds them.  The challenged regulations address incentive payments to student recruiters, misrepresentation in marketing and advertising, and state authorization.  Last July, a