ED Guidance on Competency-Based Education: Barriers to Adoption Remain

Mike Goldstein, Greg Ferenbach, Vince Sampson and Naomi Harralson May

Institutions that are in the process of developing competency-based education (CBE) programs now have a clearer window to the US Department of Education’s perspective on how federal student financial aid rules can accommodate this alternative educational delivery methodology—and what institutions must do to demonstrate and maintain compliance.

Student Data Privacy: States Keep Up the Momentum

Greg Ferenbach, Matt Johnson and Vince Sampson

While Congress continues to consider (but not act on) nationwide student data privacy initiatives, the states continued to lead the charge in 2015.

DOJ Puts Pressure on Schools and Edtechs to Provide Accessible Educational Technology

Mike Goldstein, Paul Thompson and Nancy Anderson

In our last alert on the growing interaction between edtech and disability law, we noted that the Department of Justice (DOJ) appears to be moving to extend the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to reach entities other than schools that provide online educational programs and services.

New Clery Act Requirements Warrant Close Review Before October 1 Deadline

Blain Butner and Paul Thompson

New regulations under the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) that took effect in July have a direct impact on all institutions’ Annual Security Reports as well as other aspects of institutions’ compliance with the campus crime and safety requirements under the Clery Act.

The Gainful Employment Rules: New Guidance on Reporting, Certification and Disclosures

Jonathon Glass and Kate Lee Carey

As additional elements of the Gainful Employment Rules (GE) have become effective, the Department of Education (ED) has provided additional formal and informal guidance regarding its expectations for reporting, certification, and disclosures.

“Ability to Benefit” is Back, But Not the Same

Jonathon Glass, Kate Lee Carey and Naomi Harralson May

Recently, a number of third-party test providers have begun promoting the Department of Education’s (ED) approval of their Ability-to-Benefit (ATB) assessments by notifying institutions that, after a three-year hiatus, they can once again award federal financial aid to students who do not have high school diplomas.

California Approves Pathway for Non-Profit Institutions to Maintain Exemption from State Oversight

Greg Ferenbach, Kate Lee Carey and Matt Johnson

Governor Jerry Brown has now signed into law Senate Bill 81, which included language amending the California Private Postsecondary Education Act of 2009 (the Act) to permit “independent institutions of higher education” (that is, non-profit, degree granting, accredited institutions formed in California) to meet federal requirements including access to the complaint resolution process managed by the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE).

No 11th Hour Reprieve: GE Rules Upheld

Jonathon Glass and Kate Lee Carey

With a second court ruling in late June in favor of the U.S. Department of Education, the Gainful Employment Rules (GE Rules) took effect on July 1, 2015.

Department Issues New Dear Colleague Letter on State Authorization

Greg Ferenbach and Matt Johnson

On Friday, June 19, 2015, the US Department of Education (ED or the Department) issued a Dear Colleague Letter (GEN-15-10) (DCL) reminding institutions that the current state authorization requirements (34 CFR § 600.9) will take effect on July 1, 2015 and that enforcement will not be delayed for another year.

Gainful Employment Regulations: Recent Updates from the Department of Education

Jonathon Glass and Kate Lee Carey

The Department of Education published another announcement in its series of Electronic Announcements (EAs) last week, as it prepares to implement the new Gainful Employment (GE) regulations. Those regulations are scheduled to go into effect on July 1, 2015, unless blocked in court.

Recent Developments on State Authorization at Department of Education and in California

Greg Ferenbach, Kate Lee Carey and Mike Goldstein

The US Department of Education (ED or the Department) has decided against an earlier plan to send letters to every institution believed to be out-of-compliance (or rather, located in a state that is considered out-of-compliance) with the federal state authorization requirements at 34 C.F.R. § 600.9(a), also known as the “On-Ground Rule.” Compliance with the rule is a condition to eligibility to participate in the Title IV programs.

Websites as Places of Public Accommodation: DOJ Settlement May Extend Accessibility Requirements to Virtual Space

Mike Goldstein, Paul Thompson and Nancy Anderson

Recent headlines around a high-profile settlement between the US Department of Justice and edX, Inc., one of the largest and earliest distributors of MOOCs, have once again highlighted the importance of understanding the rules for making online courses and services accessible to those with various types and levels of disabilities.