Government Affairs

Take Action on Proposed State Authorization Reciprocity Regulations | Policy Matters (April 2024)

April 30, 2024

Major Updates


Urgent: Take Action on Proposed State Authorization Reciprocity Regulations
The Department of Education is set to introduce new regulations that could significantly alter state authorization reciprocity agreements, critically affecting online education and our students’ futures. Following the lack of consensus in recent negotiated rulemaking sessions, the forthcoming rules are expected to impose stricter criteria on institutions (those taking part in reciprocity via SARA): particularly those with over 500 students in another state; and require adherence to state laws regarding closure. This will increase operational constraints and compliance costs. We believe these changes could not only hinder the growth and quality of online education of all students but also disproportionately impact marginalized communities by increasing educational costs and limiting program availability.

We are sending a letter to the Department with our colleagues at WCET, QM, OLC, NACUBO and AACC detailing our major concerns, and which goes more in depth on the specific issues raised by this proposed regulation. We encourage you to read and share this letter, and feel free to utilize it as a framework for your own outreach, both internally and externally.

As these regulations are likely to reshape the landscape of higher education, your proactive engagement is essential. We urge you to communicate with your institutional administration and state and federal government officials to share your concerns and propose balanced regulatory measures. This effort is crucial to ensuring regulations support rather than hinder the provision of high-quality online education. This is the time to spread awareness and to influence these impending regulations to ensure they fairly represent the interests and needs of our education communities. Many of us remember a time before State Authorization reciprocity, where a patchwork of approvals and state processes weighed down our institutional budgets and online operations.

It is crucial to express how these proposed regulations could negatively impact not only your institution but also the students you serve. We are committed to supporting your advocacy efforts and will continue to provide updates and resources through our Policy Matters newsletters.

Updates to Gainful Employment Regulations

In a significant move, the Department of Education has acknowledged the additional time institutions need to effectively compile the necessary data for reporting for the new Financial Value Transparency (FVT) and Gainful Employment (GE) regulations, and have decided to extend the timing for required data reporting. 

    • Institutions will have the ability to start reporting FVT/GE data through the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) starting July 1, 2024.
    • Institutions will have until October 1, 2024 to provide all required reporting. The Department is providing institutions additional time to report such information by allowing institutions to submit the information that was previously due by July 31, 2024 to be submitted by no later than October 1, 2024.

This extension comes after recent feedback from various educational organizations, including UPCEA, which emphasized the need for additional time to implement these complex regulations effectively. For more insights and guidance, we encourage you to review the announcement on the FSA website and the comprehensive ‘Dear Colleague’ letter

  • Implementation of Program Length Restrictions for Gainful Employment (GE) Programs
    The Department of Education announced responses to questions from institutions related to Certification Procedures regulations from October 2023 as it relates to Gainful Employment (GE) programs. These responses may have significant impacts to institutions’ GE programs. The Department clarified there is now set a cap on the allowable hours in GE programs, to “limit the number of hours in a GE program to the greater of the minimum number of clock hours, credit hours, or the equivalent required for training in the recognized occupation for which the program prepares the student, as established by the state in which the institution is located or, in some cases, another state.” This may necessitate a reduction in credit or clock hours for some institutions to maintain eligibility for Title IV funding. Additionally, certain GE programs might lose their eligibility for the Federal Pell Grant. To continue participation in the William D. Ford Direct Loan program, these programs must meet specific placement and completion rate criteria. Read more.

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Access our resources providing an introduction to foundational topics in federal legislation and regulations impacting online and professional continuing education for universities and colleges. Read more.

UPCEA is a proud founding and steering committee member of the Today's Students Coalition.

UPCEA Policy Committee

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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