Government Affairs

ED Sends Distance Ed, R2T4, TRIO Rules for Final Administrative Review | Policy Matters (June 2024)

June 27, 2024

Major Updates

ED Sends Distance Ed, R2T4, TRIO Rules to OIRA for Final Review Before Release and Public Comment
The US Department of Education has advanced a set of proposed regulations to the Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) for review. This submission marks the final procedural step before the proposed rules are made available for public comment. The proposed regulations encompass several key areas previously addressed during negotiated rulemaking sessions earlier this year, specifically focusing on Distance Education, Return of Title IV (R2T4), and TRIO Programs.

Absent from this submission are the topics of State Authorization, Cash Management, and Accreditation. We anticipate those topics’ proposed regulatory changes should be released at a future date. We continue to monitor the situation closely, particularly to see if any of our recommendations, noted below, which were submitted earlier this month in collaboration with other organizations, are incorporated into the proposed distance education regulations. We will provide updates as new information becomes available, including when the regulations are released, and open for public comment.


Coalition Letter on Proposed Distance Education Regulations, Offering Alternatives 

We joined a letter to the Department of Education addressing proposed regulations that would affect distance education programs. In this letter, we expressed our concerns regarding the recent proposed changes to: 

  • Enact mandatory attendance-taking in all distance education courses 
  • Not allowing distance education for clock hour courses

We are worried about the institutional burdens as well as how it will affect students’ outcomes, especially for marginalized communities. With our peer organizations (WCET, OLC, QM, DEAC, and AACC) we proposed thoughtful alternatives within the letter. We all are committed to ensuring that any new regulations strengthen—rather than weaken—student access to high-quality distance education programs. There also were a number of provisions proposed which we support, and highlighted those and a few caveats within the letter. We encourage you to share with your institutional administration as well as contact elected officials and share our letter and continue to stay informed. 


Other News


  • US Department of Education Opens Applications for Basic Needs for Postsecondary Students program (Federal Register)
    Applications for new awards are due by August 5th. The program provides grants to eligible institutions of higher education (IHEs), or a consortia or system of such institutions, to advance systemic and sustainable solutions to student basic needs insecurity through support programs that address the basic needs of students and to report on practices that improve outcomes for students. 


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Kristen Brown, University of Louisville, Chair
Bridget Beville, University of Phoenix
Corina Caraccioli, Loyola University New Orleans
Abram Hedtke, St. Cloud State University

George Irvine, University of Delaware
Rob Kerr, University of Illinois, Springfield
Craig Wilson, University of Arizona


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