Category Archives: accreditation

Higher Education Act – Innovations, Definitions, and State Authorization

When passed in 1965, the Higher Education Act (HEA) was intended to “to strengthen the educational resources of our colleges and universities and to provide financial assistance for students in postsecondary and higher education.” Updated or “reauthorized” several times since then, the Act has historically housed most of federal resources and regulations for higher education […]

Senate Weighs Innovation and Access Options in Reauthorizing Higher Ed Act

The Senate is moving ahead with deliberations on its version of a bill to reauthorize the Higher Education Act (HEA). Yesterday morning, the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee held a hearing focusing on “access and innovation.” Much was said about such issues as competency-based education, distance education, accountability, supporting students outside the classroom, and […]

House HEA Proposes Changes for Distance Ed, CBE, and State Authorization

In a new bill regarding higher education rules proposed in the House of Representatives: all federal state authorization rules are ended, competency-based education gets a boost with “regular and substantive interaction” being redefined and expanded accreditation oversight, accreditation reviews for distance education are a thing of the past, some confusion remains over distance and online […]

What is Distance Education? – Definitions and Delineations

Close your eyes (not for too long) and answer the question: “What is distance education?” Did you envision the same concept and experiences as I did? Even though more than one-quarter of all higher education students in the United States and a roughly equivalent number in Canada now take at least one distance education course, […]

The OIG Report on WGU, Part 2: React…But Don’t Overreact

It has been more than a week since the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued its Final Audit Report declaring that “Western Governors University Was Not Eligible to Participate in the Title IV Programs.” Both of us (Russ Poulin, WCET and Van Davis, Blackboard) have been following the activities surrounding the […]

On the OIG/WGU Finding, Part 1: When Interaction Is Not Interaction

Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued a report concluding: “We concluded that Western Governors University did not comply with the institutional eligibility requirement that limits the percentage of regular students who may enroll in correspondence courses. Therefore, the Department should require the school to return the $712,670,616 in Title […]

A New Year, a New Administration, a New Higher Education Act Reauthorization?

Earlier this year, Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska called this election a “dumpster fire.” We were reminded of this insight by Terry Hartle (Senior Vice President, Division of Government and Public Affairs of the American Council on Education) at last week’s Presidents’ Forum. Hoping to raise the level of dialogue beyond that surrounding a dumpster […]

Interpreting what is Required for “Regular and Substantive Interaction”

As greater numbers of students move into online and competency-based education programs, we have seen new interest in understanding the Department of Education’s regulations. In particular, faculty and administrators seek to understand how the Department interprets rules requiring courses to include “regular and substantive interaction,” especially in distance and competency-based education. Those of us in […]

Questions about EQUIP, Ed Department’s Expansion of Aid to New Providers

On Tuesday, The U.S. Department of Education announced (Department press release, Wall Street Journal story) the eight partnerships that were selected in the EQUIP (Educational QUality through Innovative Partnerships) experimental sites program. The Department sought collaborations between accredited institutions that offer federal financial aid and newer providers who were previously not eligible to offer aid. […]

In Response to Opposition of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements

This post originally appeared as an opinion piece in Inside Higher Ed. Thanks to Phil Hill, e-Literate, and Russ Poulin, WCET, for debumking the myths being spread about SARA in New York. A coalition of consumer groups, legal aid organizations and unions object to the state of New York joining an agreement that would change how colleges […]