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Education Dept. Proposes Rules to Clarify State Oversight of Online Courses

The U.S. Department of Education is proposing further regulations for online-education programs at colleges and universities, the department said in a news release on Friday.

The department’s new regulations, which follow rules that took effect last summer, would make state-authorization requirements, which vary by state, more clear for institutions that offer online courses.

Among the most notable changes, colleges that offer online courses would have to be authorized by each state in which they enroll students, if the states require such authorization. The new regulations would close what’s been described as a loophole in which distance-education providers enroll students in states where the institutions are not located, the agency said.

States would also be required to document how they process and resolve student complaints about distance-education classes.

The agency will accept public comment on the proposed regulations until August 24, and it expects to issue a final version before the end of the year.

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