On June 29, the Department of Education announced the portion of the proposed distance education rule relating to authorization of foreign locations of domestic institutions went into effect on July 1, 2018.
In a surprise move on Friday, the Department of Education announced the portion of the proposed distance education rule relating to authorization of foreign locations of domestic institutions went into effect on July 1, 2018. As previously announced in May, the department officially delayed the effective date of the Obama administration's distance education rule to July 1, 2020, but only with regard to state authorization for purely online programs.
The provision requiring formal approval of foreign locations has received little attention since the rule was first proposed in 2016. That provision requires institutions to be able to show they hold approval from the relevant foreign government to operate any physical campus abroad at which students are eligible to receive Title IV funding and can complete at least half of a program at such location. Institutions must also be able to document that the program as offered at the foreign location has been approved by the institution's accrediting agency, reported to the state authorizing agency where the school's main campus is located, and are in compliance with any requirements in their home state that apply to the operation of their foreign locations. Failure to maintain the required authorizations and approvals could result in a loss of Title IV eligibility for programs offered at a foreign location.
There are important limitations to the scope of the rule. Most importantly, the rule only applies to an institution's overseas physical campuses; it does not apply to online programs offered abroad or to students enrolled in such programs. The rule also does not apply to study abroad arrangements with foreign institutions whereby a student attends less than half of a program at the foreign institution. And the rule specifically exempts foreign locations and branch campuses located...