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New rules limit states’ oversight of online colleges. How will they react?

January 30, 2020

State attorneys general were left out when the U.S. Department of Education rewrote its state authorization rules for distance education. The department “didn’t feel attorneys general had a strong role to play in the potential regulations compared with other groups overseeing colleges,” a spokesperson told Bloomberg early last year.

But the end result, announced Nov. 1, will certainly affect attorneys general, because it reduces their ability to regulate distance education. The new rules expressly forbid states from enforcing laws that go beyond the requirements of any interstate agreement they belong to that authorizes out-of-state institutions to offer distance education in their state.

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