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California Association of Private Postsecondary Schools

Education Department Again Delays ‘State Authorization’ Rule

06/24/2014

Inside Higher Ed. June 24, 2014.

The U.S. Department of Education is again delaying the deadline for when colleges must comply with a requirement that they obtain authorization from regulators in each state in which they are physically located.

The rule was set to take effect next month, but the department announced Monday that it is pushing the deadline back to July 1, 2015. This is the second time the department has provided such an extension for a rule that many colleges have said is confusing. Some have also said the rule is being enforced unfairly.  

The regulation is aimed at setting some minimum standards for how a state approves colleges operating within its borders. States, for example, must have a process for accepting student complaints about a college. The rule also sets out the conditions under which state regulators can use an institution’s accreditation or business licenses as a substitute for a more intensive approval process.

Those state authorization requirements that are now being delayed affect only those colleges that have physical locations, not distance education providers.

The department’s separate state authorization requirement for distance education programs was struck down by a federal appeals court in 2012. Department officials are currently rewriting those rules after a negotiated rule making panel failed to reach consensus on the issue earlier this year.