August 5, 2019
Institutions should consult with counsel to understand the risks associated with continuing to disburse aid to California students based on the revised complaint process that the Department expects California to implement.
Late on Friday, August 2, 2019, the U.S. Department of Education sent a letter to the California Department of Consumer Affairs that rejected California’s proposed complaint process for Californians attending online programs offered by out-of-state public and nonprofit institutions, but provided a clear path to compliance and a promise not to disrupt federal student aid, assuming California takes the steps outlined in the letter. We previously summarized aspects of the 2016 State Authorization Rule in our July 23, 2019, and July 26, 2019, Alerts.
Here are four key takeaways from the Department’s letter.
1. Federal student aid to Californians will not be disrupted IF California takes the steps outlined in the letter to meet the 2016 State Authorization requirements.
The Department’s August 2 letter “assumes” California will do three things: (1) modify its plan to refer student complaints to a California state agency for adjudication, (2) require a California state agency to oversee the investigation of the student complaints and resolve them, according to applicable California state law, and (3) receive complaints regarding issues starting from at least May 26, 2019, the date that the 2016 regulations went into effect.
The letter states that “with those modifications made, the Department will consider California to have had an acceptable plan in place dating back to May 26, 2019. Thus, no student will experience an interruption in his or her education or federal student aid.”
Institutions should consult with counsel to understand the risks associated with continuing to disburse aid to California students based on the revised… (continue reading)