Government Affairs

Department of Education Releases Final Rules on 90/10 Rule, Incarcerated Individuals, Borrower Defense, Debt Relief Programs, Among Others | Policy Matters (October 2022)

October 31, 2022

Major Updates

  • Submission Form for Federal Student Loan Forgiveness Opens; Accepting Applications Through End of 2023
    The application for federal student loan forgiveness for up to $20,000 for eligible individuals opened earlier this month. Though the deadline to submit for forgiveness is December 31, 2023, student loan borrowers are encouraged to submit prior to November 15 of this year. Due to the four- to six-week processing for the forgiveness, it would allow for the overall loan balances and any payment calculations to be reduced ahead of the sunsetting of the student loan interest/payment pause, which is scheduled to return to normal collections and payment periods beginning January 1, 2023.The Department of Education has warned that there are many scams and some “Do’s and Don’ts” to consider for borrowers. We encourage our member schools to consider warning their student populations of such.

    The student debt relief portal can be found here and applicants can apply now.


  • Department of Education Releases Final Rules on 90/10 Rule, Pell for Incarcerated Individuals, Change in Ownership, Borrower Defense, Debt Relief Programs, Closed School Discharges, Among Others
    To meet the Federal Master Calendar schedule, the Department of Education released final rules ahead of the November 1st deadline, for implementation of July 1 of 2023. The topics included a number of final regulations split into two major sets.

      • 90/10 Rule – changes to rule that increases protections for veterans and service members from aggressive recruiting
      • Prison Education Program – rules that set standards for institutions to implement prison education programs that can provide incarcerated individuals
      • Changes in Ownership – new accountability rules for colleges and universities undergoing changes in ownership

        Read more.
    • The second one focused on:
      • Borrower Defense to Repayment and Arbitration – establishes a stronger framework for borrowers to raise a defense to repayment if their institution misleads or manipulates them
      • Closed School Discharges – provide an automatic discharge one year after a college’s closure date for borrowers who were enrolled at the time of closure or left 180 days before closure and who do not accept an approved teach-out agreement or a continuation of the program at another location of the school
      • Total and Permanent Disability Discharges – provides additional pathways for borrowers who have a total and permanent disability to receive loan forgiveness
  • UPCEA and Online Education Organizations Seek Guidance on “Regular and Substantive Interaction”
    The U.S. Department of Education uses the concept of “regular and substantive interaction” to distinguish between “distance education” and “correspondence education” courses. If an institution has too many correspondence courses, it could lose its ability to disburse federal financial aid. A new version of “regular and substantive interaction” went into effect in July 2021. In August of that year, WCET and the State Authorization Network (SAN) issued a letter to the Department seeking clarification on how institutions were to comply with provisions of the updated definition. So far, there has been no guidance—leaving accreditation agencies and institutions to make their own interpretations.

    UPCEA, Quality Matters, the Online Learning Consortium, and WCET/SAN joined in submitting a letter to the Department on October 11 requesting this important guidance. As the leading online education organizations, we are keen to ensure that our members are informed on how to comply with this regulation and that student consumers receive the protections they deserve. We will inform you of the outcome of this request.


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