Ranking Member Scott Condemns Education Department Effort to Rollback Accountability for Online Education Programs

WASHINGTON – Ranking Member Bobby Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement in response to the Education Department’s delay of a rule that would ensure consumer protections for students enrolled in online college programs, many of which are at for-profit colleges, no matter where the school is physically located.

“The Program Integrity and Improvement rule was a response to widespread confusion about state oversight of online programs. The rule made it clear that regardless of where an online education program is physically located, it must earn approval from any state where its students reside. The rule provided clarity for online programs and it reaffirmed that states have the right and the responsibility to maintain strong oversight over academic institutions. By delaying this rule, the Trump administration is creating more uncertainty in higher education while undermining states’ role in protecting consumers and taxpayers from fraudulent online college programs.

“In addition, delaying this rule also delays important transparency requirements. The rule required online programs to notify students if a prospective program does not qualify them to work in their particular state. For example, if students are considering an online nursing program that does not meet their states’ licensing requirements, the program would be accountable for disclosing that information.

“The administration’s decision to delay this rule undermines state oversight of online educational programs, blocks important transparency requirements, and increases uncertainty regarding oversight, all of which is a great disservice to students across the country.”