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In Defense of Distance Education – A Joint Letter to the Department of Education & Call to Action

On June 4, several leading higher education organizations jointly submitted a letter to the Department of Education outlining concerns and support for recent regulatory proposals.

The letter focuses on proposals discussed during the Department’s Program Integrity and Institutional Quality negotiated rulemaking sessions. It addresses suggested new compliance requirements for postsecondary distance education courses and programs. The organizations, including WCET, jointly detailed concerns about those proposals and state support for other recommendations discussed in rulemaking.

Our main concerns focus on proposals to:

  • require attendance-taking for all distance education courses, and,
  • disallow asynchronous courses in clock-hour programs.

We understand the Department’s goals to protect students as consumers and to safeguard Title IV financial aid expenditures.

For our areas of concern, we suggest alternative pathways to reach the Department’s objectives.

This letter is the second of two letters sent to the Department on behalf of these partners. The May 1, 2024 letter addressed proposals regarding reciprocity agreements for state authorization that were discussed during this same rulemaking. [...]

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