eLearning2017 – Federal Update: The Anticipated Impact of the Changing Landscape

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  • Russ Poulin, WCET – WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies
  • Kenneth Salomon, Partner, Thompson Coburn LLP, Lobbying and Policy
  • Fred Lokken, ITC Member At-Large, Truckee Meadows Community College


  • Federal Regulations are about Financial Aid
    • Before 1990’s correspondence, not eligible
    • 1990’s telecommunicated becomes eligible (Liberty University case – ITC played a helpful role with changing the legislation in transition from correspondence to telecommunicated.)
    • 2000’s “50/50 rule” eliminated, “telecommunicated” changes to “distance education”
    • 2000’s and beyond – innovations overwhelm regulations…
    • Innovations and Demographics – the mindset of “sit and get” lecture style…
      • distance, hybrid, online
      • non-standard calendars
      • competency based, personalized, adaptive learning
    • Policies
      • First and Last Day of Attendance
      • Student Identity
        • Financial aid fraud
        • Academic integration
      • Regular and substantive integration
      • State Authorization
  • Impact of the 2016 Federal Election on Higher Education
    • “Make Education Great Again”
    • It’s starting out slowly via the Domestic Policy Council’s Rob Goad and Jason Botel
    • Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos in historic vote with the VP casting a tie-breaking vote.
      • DeVos has specifically mentioned fraud and federal accountability tools (Obama)
      • Recently spoke about community colleges in being nimble and close to business sectors, expand certificate, emphasis on alternatives to traditional 4 year models
    • Jerry Falwell, JR of Liberty University – likely to play a key role.
    • Trump on Higher Education
      • “will make post-secondary options more affordable and accessible through technology enhance delivery models”
      • Unaffordable loan debt
      • Campus administration “bloat”
      • Large university endowments
      • Look to congressional GOP opposition of Obama actions
        • Over-regulation, especially for profit
        • Campus sexual assault enforcement
        • Transgender bathroom access rules
      • Congress
        • Defund Appropriation
        • Repeal: CRA, Approp, HEA
        • Delay: Approp, HEA, Stand Alone
        • Replace: Approp, HEA, Stand Alone
      • Dept of Ed
        • Not Enforce
        • Amend, Repeal, or Replace: New Rulemaking
      • White House
        • 1/30 Fed Reg notice delaying until 3/31 finalized federal rules that have not taken effect
      • HEA – Title 4
        • A top HELP/E&W Priority
        • Likely 2 Year Project
        • Congressional GOP focused on:
          • regulations applicable to all
            • affordability
            • accreditation reform
            • accountability (outcome measures)
            • simplification
            • deregulation
  • Gainful Employment
    • Effects certification programs. It’s too late for Congress to overturn. It’s possible that the penalties could be delayed.
  • State Authorization
    • 2010 it was tied to financial aid, and at the time very few higher ed institutions followed
    • In December 2016 this was finalized and will be enforced in July 2018.
    • SARA
    • It’s possible that the Federal law will go way, but SARA is still valid because each state has regulations that need to be followed.
  • HEOA – Nothing new on proctoring on student identification to combat fraud, and the student that registers for the course is the same one taking the test. Vendors have used this to try to sell their products, but they shouldn’t be as there isn’t a requirement. We have the obligation to research and perform due diligence but currently there is no proctoring requirement.



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