US Government Accountability Office Releases Long-Awaited Report on OPMs | Policy Matters (May 2022)
- US Government Accountability Office Releases Long-Awaited Report on OPMs
The United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a highly anticipated report following a multi-year review of the relationships between Online Program Managers (OPMs) and universities. In their report, they recommended some changes around how the Department of Education deals with universities and their partnerships with OPMs on the topic of incentive structures built around recruitment practices, as there is a federal ban on incentive compensation. They also recommended that institutions report to the Department additional information around the activities these third-party providers are managing under audit and program reviews. The Department, as an addendum to the report, has already approved the recommendations and plans to move forward on the recommended changes and issue guidance. Read more.
- Dive Deeper: New GAO report signals increased scrutiny of Higher Ed contracts with online program managers (Thompson Coburn LLP)
- Senator Murray: Protecting Schools and Hospitals Against Cyberattacks is a Matter of National Security
The Senate HELP committee had a hearing recently on cyberattacks where Chairwoman Murray stated “(S)chools are at risk of getting locked out of the online programs that students use to get and turn in assignments, teachers use to post and track grades, and administrators use to lay out courses and schedules for the semester. Hacks can also disrupt routine functions like payroll, and can leave patients, students, and staff exposed to identity theft. And that can be especially concerning for K-12 students—as it often isn’t clear to students or parents that a child’s identity has been stolen until they open a bank account, or request student aid.”
- Watch the May 18 Hearing “Cybersecurity in the Health and Education Sectors” from Senate HELP Committee
- How to Protect Your Institution: Your organization may have access to free cybersecurity vulnerability assessments via the federal government’s Cyber Hygiene Services. Learn more here.
- U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights Announces 100 Compliance Reviews on Digital Accessibility, Releases Series of “How-To” Videos
“The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights today announced significant actions aimed at ensuring digital accessibility for students with disabilities. OCR launched 100 new compliance reviews in the area of digital accessibility for people with disabilities under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The reviews will be looking at digital accessibility in public-facing and student-facing websites and educational platforms maintained by state departments of education, school districts, charter schools, public libraries, and public and private 2- and 4-year colleges and universities. In addition, OCR, in partnership with the ADA National Network, released a 20-part video series covering topics such as how people with disabilities use technology, applicable Federal laws, and how to identify and remediate different types of technological barriers that can interfere with the ability of parents and students with disabilities to participate in modern American education. The intent of the series is to provide a basic instruction to many different digital accessibility concepts, such as fundamental manual testing techniques, use of color, logical reading order, meaningful video captions, and others. The videos are designed for a wide range of audience members, including school webmasters, parents and students with disabilities, and educational app developers and other IT vendors.” Read more.
- Latest White House plan would forgive $10,000 in student debt per borrower (Washington Post)
- National Center for Education Statistics releases 2022 Condition of Education report (US Department of Education)
- Congressional Hearing: Examining the Policies and Priorities of the U.S. Department of Education with Secretary Miguel Cardona (House Education and Labor Committee)
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