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Federal Regulations

Ignoring State Authorization? How Long Can You Tread Water?

November 21, 2011

As part of our coverage of the state authorization issue, we at WCET have met several regulators charged with enforcing those rules.  We asked Alan Contreras, who recently retired from Oregon’s Office of Degree Authorization and is now a higher education consultant, to serve as guest blogger and to answer a question we get asked often:  “Without the federal regulation, why should my institution follow the state laws?”  Of course, we all believe that the federal regulation will return. The Education Department is appealing the decision.  If they lose, they only need to follow their rule-making processes to overcome the court’s objections. Even so, the state laws preceded the federal regulation and remain in place regardless of what happens at the federal level. Thank you to Alan for giving a state perspective.

As the federal regulatory scheme embodied in “rule 609” requiring state approval for all college operations drifts slowly downstream, caught in a variety of legal and political eddies, many colleges have decided that it is perfectly fine, even wise, to quietly do things the way they have always done, without worrying about those pesky state laws. This course of action is not wise.  It is profoundly stupid. […]

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