Monday, July 18, 2011

State approval rule could hamstring online college classes

A federal regulation intended to restrict so-called “diploma mills” might have the unintended effect of potentially chilling distance-learning programs at traditional not-for-profit colleges and universities such as the University of Illinois Springfield.

The U.S. Department of Education in October enacted a rule requiring post-secondary institutions to get approval from any state in which they operate, including any state in which an online student enrolls. Failure to do so could result in the loss of financial aid.

Ray Schroeder, director of the Center for Online Learning, Research and Service at UIS, said the Department of Education didn’t include the state-authorization provision in public hearings it held on the regulations, but included it in the rules released in October.

“The Department of Education indicated they thought this was happening already among traditional universities,” he said. “But in essence, nobody was doing it."

Schroeder's comments were featured in an July 18, 2011, article in The State Journal-Register.

Read the article online