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Ed Department Shakes Up OPMs and Third-Party Servicers: This Is Huge

Did you hear that loud noise last Wednesday? For those in the middle of the country, it was the Kansas City Chiefs victory parade. For those in higher education, the U.S. Department of Education created its own rumblings by releasing new guidance with rules about any contracted services and a series of questions about companies helping institutions with online learning. For some time, we have been expecting a change in guidance regarding Online Program Management (OPM) and the revenue-sharing model used by some of those companies. There has been much interest in assuring student consumer protection in this growing industry and in institutional outsourcing. 

Earlier this year, the Department signaled it would hold negotiated rulemaking including “Third-Party Servicers”. We thought OPMs and other contracts would be covered in that process. Instead, the Department issued broad guidance on a wide range of “Third-Party Servicers”. It also announced that it was seeking input on nine questions about OPMs, especially around the OPM revenue-sharing model and its “bundled services exemption.”  [...]

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