Government Affairs

Significant Changes on Distance Education Regulations Considered as Negotiated Rulemaking Committee Concludes | Policy Matters (March 2022)

March 31, 2022

Major Updates

  • Significant Changes on Distance Education Regulations Considered as Negotiated Rulemaking Committee Concludes | Consensus on Only Two of Seven Issue Papers Reached
    The Institutional and Programmatic Eligibility Committee’s final session at the US Department of Education concluded this month, resulting in consensus on language around two issues: Ability To Benefit, and the 90/10 rule. Many other items that are of importance to our community did not reach consensus, and there are a few items to keep an eye, most importantly on a few specific regulations the Department has proposed including: 

    • All distance education programs’ enrollment must stem from the main campus of the institution, and will be counted as such by the Department and cannot be associated with a branch campus. 
    • Regulations restricting the scope of distance education state authorization reciprocity agreements (i.e. SARA) to only apply to the limited scope of educational authorization, and as such, pushing all other legal claims of an educational nature application to the state where the student is located, rather than the state in which the institution is based.
    • On licensure, the Department proposed regulations which would require the institution’s programs which lead to licensure be crafted such that they ensure the student meets all licensure requirements in the state in which the student is located when beginning that program.

All of these regulations will now be reviewed and those which did not achieve consensus will possibly be edited by the Department before public comment. When released to the public, the Department will allow for 30 days of commenting before the final language is released. The Department also stressed during the negotiated rulemaking session that they will not be accepting any public comments on these regulations until they open the public comment period. We will keep you updated, and notify you as soon as the public comment period is open. 


  • Biden Administration Releases Proposed Budget for FY 23; $2k+ Increase in Pell Grant Requested
    The Biden Administration released their proposed budget for fiscal year 2023, asking for a significant funding increase for many Department of Education programs (a 20%+ increase for overall agency funding). Major initiatives for postsecondary education include an increase to the maximum amount of Pell Grants in an additional $2,175 per person; other grants improving retention, transfer, and completion rates; and funding for basic needs like child care for low-income student parents. The budget also would expand access for adult learners and career training programs by investing in community colleges. Presidential budget requests are generally a wish list and a signal of their future legislative priorities. Congressional leadership will now work with members on a package that could pass both chambers, and the current Administration’s proposal is unlikely to pass in its current outlay.


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Ricky LaFosse, University of Michigan
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Dick Senese, Capella University


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