On April 1, the U.S. Department of Education (“USDE”) published a long-awaited Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for Distance Education and Innovation in the FederalRegister. The proposed regulations are the final part of the consensus negotiated rulemaking that occurred in 2019. This regulation comes at an important time as institutions across the country are transitioning to varying forms of distance education due to COVID-19, albeit temporary or longer term. The NPRM represents the next step in the Department’s agenda to modernize its distance education regulations to promote innovation and reflect technological advancements, while protecting program quality. One key component of the NPRM is the new proposed definition of “regular” and “substantive” interaction between instructors and students for Title IV eligibility purposes. In the past, Title IV institutions have been assessed multi-million dollar fines for violating substantive and regular interaction requirements that were not well-defined in regulation. The NPRM also proposes revised credit and clock hour definitions directly addressing distance education and makes changes to recognize subscription based delivery of online education…continue reading
UpdateED is a blog where Duane Morris lawyers share their insights and experience gained through years dedicated to working with schools and others in the businesses of education.