NASFAA Signs Onto Letter to Block State Authorization and Definition of Credit Hour

NASFAA joined several other higher education associations in signing onto a letter supporting legislation that would halt the Department of Education's regulations on state authorization and the definition of a credit hour. The legislation, H.R. 2117, was introduced by Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), Chairwoman of the House Subcommittee on Higher Education.  

These regulations were initially part of the series of program integrity regulations released last October and are set to become effective this July 1.

The legislation would effectively block ED's current attempt to define a credit hour and would also prohibit them from doing so in the future. It would also prohibit the implementation of the state authorization regulation. Last month, ED extended the deadline for state authorization requirements, by not limiting Title IV student eligibility for distance education activities undertaken before July 1, 2014, so long as the institution makes good faith efforts to meet state authorization requirements. While ED's extension provides temporary relief for the state authorization requirement, the Foxx legislation would call for its permanent repeal.

"We support efforts aimed at curbing abuse and bringing greater integrity to the federal student aid programs," the letter states. "However, given the almost total lack of evidence of a problem in the context of credit hour or state authorization, we see no basis for two regulations that so fundamentally alter the relationships between the federal government, states, accreditors and institutions. Ultimately, we believe these regulations invite inappropriate federal interference in campus-based decisions and will limit student access to high-quality education opportunities."

NASFAA has opposed the state authorization regulation in the past and signed onto a letter asking ED to rescind it earlier this year. The bill will be marked up on June 15.