Government Affairs

Distance Ed, Online Student Reporting, State Authorization and Other Topics Announced for Early 2024 Neg Reg | Policy Matters (November 2023)

November 29, 2023

Major Updates

  • Distance Education, Online Student Reporting, State Authorization and Other Topics Announced for Early 2024 Negotiated Rulemaking
    The US Department of Education has announced a negotiated rulemaking session covering topics important to the UPCEA community including distance education, reporting for fully online students, as well as state authorization, among other topics. The announced sessions will take place early next year, occurring virtually on January 8-11, February 5-8, and March 4-7. The Department is seeking nominations for different stakeholder positions by December 13 of this year.

    The topics which will be discussed within these negotiated rulemaking sessions include:

    • Recognition of accrediting agencies and related issues
    • Institutional eligibility, including state authorization
    • The definition of distance education as it pertains to clock hour programs and reporting for students who enroll primarily online
    • Return of Title IV of Higher Education Act of 1965 funds
    • Cash management to address disbursement of student funds
    • Eligibility of TRIO Programs (which will also be included as part of subcommittee work on these issues)

Notably absent is the discussion on Third Party Servicers, which the Department has mentioned may be included in future negotiated rulemaking sessions. The Department indicated they will be issuing new guidance on this topic in early 2024.

Read the Department of Education’s Press Release.
See full details in the Federal Register.


  • Will the Feds Strip Colleges’ Funds Over Anti-Jewish, Muslim Bias? (Inside Higher Ed)
    “Amid the protests and incidents that have rocked college campuses since the start of the Israel-Hamas war, a cry has gone up from conservative politicians and groups for the federal government to pull federal funding from colleges and universities if they fail to quell antisemitism and protect their Jewish students.

    Republican presidential candidates and members of Congress have been especially vocal in calling for such punishment. ‘We’re not in the business of using taxpayer dollars to provide and nourish hate,’ said Utah Representative Burgess Owens, a Republican who chairs the House subcommittee on higher education, at the end of a hearing last week on campus antisemitism.

    ‘That is not the American way.’But stripping colleges of their access to federal funds would be an unprecedented step for the Education Department to take. It’s possible under the law, legal experts say, but it would only happen after a long and complex investigative process. However, Biden administration officials have said that they agree more action is needed to counter the recent rise in both antisemitism and Islamophobia on college campuses. And they have moved quickly to respond.” Read more.

  • Overhaul of Financial Aid Formula Will Boost Pell Grant Eligibility (Inside Higher Ed)
    “Nearly 220,000 students will gain eligibility for the Pell Grant, a key tool for helping low-income students access college, when the federal government finalizes revisions to the system for applying for financial aid later this year, according to a new report from the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association.

    The increase in Pell-eligible students could mean more than $617 million in additional federal aid going to students and colleges. About $29.8 billion was available for students in Pell Grant funding in 2023–24, according to federal budget documents.” Read more.


Other News


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UPCEA Policy Committee

Kristen Brown, University of Louisville, Chair
Mark Bernhard, North Carolina State University
Frank Principe, University of Maryland Global Campus
Ricky LaFosse, University of Michigan
George Irvine, University of Delaware
Stephanie Landregan, University of California, Los Angeles
Abram Hedtke, St. Cloud State University
Debra Iles, Harvard University


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