The Department of Education issued its final state authorization regulations today. The final rule will be published in tomorrow’s Federal Register.

The US Department of Education today issued the unofficial version of its final state authorization regulations that includes new rules governing accreditation and recognition of state authorizing agencies. The final rule will be published in tomorrow’s Federal Register, with an official effective date of July 1, 2020. As expected, ED will allow institutions to “early implement” the rule as of November 1, although it has not yet specified how an institution would elect early implementation or document its decision. The rule draws on the 2016 version of the state authorization regulations, recently forced into effect by a court decision earlier this year, but contains important changes.

The rule, which is expected to be materially similar to ED’s proposed rule from June 2019, contains two basic elements. First, institutions must obtain any required state authorizations for distance education programs as a condition of eligibility to offer federal student aid to students who are located outside of the institution’s home state. Second, the rule includes revised consumer disclosure requirements, particularly around programs that prepare students for professional licensure, and, importantly, expands those disclosure requirements to apply to both on-ground and distance education programs.

ED has published a fact sheet outlining its basis for the rule change, available here. Watch for our full analysis coming very soon.