The U.S. Education Department has released new information that clarifies rules governing the activities of for-profit colleges. These rules are set to go into effect July, 2011. Youth Today reports that "[t]he rules, under the department's Program Integrity Regulations, address for-profit schools having to be authorized by states to operate, including in states where they are not located but have students, prohibiting payments to recruiters based on the number of students they recruit and what actions can be taken for misrepresentations."
The rule clarification was issued in a "Dear Colleague" letter issued late in the day on Thursday, March 17, 2011.
The Youth Today article goes on to reveal that
according to the letter, the department has always required for-profit colleges to obtain approval from all states in which their distance learners (mostly those taking online courses) reside, if the states require such approval. The colleges have complained specifically about this regulation. The department's letter states that if schools can show they have sought approval from their affected states, they will have a one-year grace period to gain the approvals. The letter advises that the department understand that state might not be able to process all applications before July 1.
In its letter, the Education Department stresses that the new regulations "reinforced prohibitions on schools making payments to recruiters or student aid officials on the basis on the number of students they enroll or help to obtain financial aid."
As more details emerge concerning the Education Department's plan, for-profit schools are digging in for what is shaping up to be a war of attrition. Whether this war ends in for-profit colleges' defeat, their victory, or a stalemate, time will tell. It's safe to say, however, that the complexion of higher education will forever be altered by the experience. You just hope that a lot of people seeking to advance their learning and interests don't become so much collateral damage.