U.S. Department of Education Announces Regulatory Agenda; Pushes Some Rulemaking Issues to Next Federal Calendar | Policy Matters (June 2022)
The Department of Education released their Spring 2022 Agenda and Regulatory Plan, providing timelines and intended regulations they will release this year, and which they will push until the next yearly cycle. The Department broke apart the recent rulemaking topics, and decided to push a number of regulations until next year. The regulations being pushed to the 2023 year include the following: gainful employment, certification procedures, financial responsibility, administrative capability and ability-to-benefit.
First, that means some issues important to the UPCEA community are those items within regulations that are expected to be released sometime this year (before November 1st, to be implemented earliest July 1 of 2023). Some of those include: Pell Grants for prisoners, 90/10 rule, and changes in ownership (which has two noteworthy changes considered during rulemaking:1 – defines online/distance education programs to count all students at programs from branch campuses, would be counted as part of the main campus enrollment for the Department; and 2 – implications for revenue sharing agreements and status as a nonprofit institution), among others. Stay tuned for the Department to issue proposed regulations on these items shortly.
Now, some of the regulations which have been pushed out for consideration next year, and if released prior to November 1, 2023, and would be implemented no sooner than July 1, 2024. Of most importance to the UPCEA community is the umbrella topic titled “Certification Procedures” (under which, the Department’s rulemaking language previously signaled licensure changes and state reciprocity changes, highlighted in our March 2022 Policy Matters newsletter):
- 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 this to say, there are a lot of moving pieces and work that the Department is currently undertaking, and none of the above language we’ve seen may make its way into the proposed regulations. These items are some which you and your government affairs and compliance officers at your institution should keep an eye on and be ready to weigh in. When released, the public comment period for these regulations will be open for a minimum of 30 days. UPCEA will notify our members through our Weekly Briefing and Policy Matters newsletters when any of these comment periods open.
“‘The proposed regulations reflect the Department’s commitment to give full effect to Title IX, ensuring that no person experiences sex discrimination in education, and that school procedures for addressing complaints of sex discrimination, including sexual violence and other forms of sex-based harassment, are clear, effective, and fair to all involved,’ said Catherine E. Lhamon, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights.
Additional information on the proposed rule, including a summary with background information and a fact sheet, is available here.
The unofficial version of the proposed rule is available here.” (US Department of Education Press Release)
Once released, the proposed regulations will be open for public comment for 60 days.
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UPCEA Policy Committee
Mark Bernhard, North Carolina State University, Co-Chair
Frank Principe, University of Maryland Global Campus, Co-Chair
Kristen Brown, University of Louisville
Ricky LaFosse, University of Michigan
Reed Scull, University of Wyoming
Dick Senese, Capella University