A common question for colleges today is whether to reduce tuition prices if they cannot provide on-campus classes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The short answer, both legally and morally, is that colleges should not charge students for services they cannot or do not deliver.
The ultimate answer is more complex and requires a disaggregating analysis of the services that that were included in the price of tuition, including a review of the value associated with in-person interactions.
Duane Morris was a sponsor of the 2020 ASU GSV summit. Several of our attorneys presented at this year’s virtual conference. Below are replays from select sessions.
Ed Tech Policy Session | September 29, 2020
Consumers of education services – students of all ages and the entities that serve them – are hungry for dramatic changes in the education landscape that will deliver increased access, equity, affordability, quality and workforce relevance. Ed Tech has begun to deliver on those needs in extraordinary ways, and the potential is untapped. However, innovation in the market has outpaced how existing regulations and policy govern education as a service. This session will: (1) review friction points our lawyers have observed between Ed Tech models and the current state, federal and accreditor regulatory regimes that apply to educational businesses and educational institutions (and how to spot, anticipate and plan for them), (2) report on recent changes in federal law and policy to promote and foster innovation (including the U.S. Department of Education’s new Distance Education and Innovation Final Rule and increased accreditor flexibilities) and (3) discuss threats and opportunities that may arise from the next Congress and Administration, and how Ed Tech stakeholders can help shape education policy.
We reported earlier this week on the U.S. Department of Education’s July 22, 2019, announcement, which clarified that California students attending online programs offered by out-of-state nonprofit and public institutions are not currently eligible for Title IV Federal Student Aid because of lack of a student complaint process. This issue is not limited to California students and could similarly impact students in many states across the country attending online programs offered by all California colleges and universities, including nonprofit, public and for-profit schools. California-based colleges and universities offering online programs in other states must seek state-by-state authorization or exemption because California does not participate in SARA (State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement). Many of these states do not provide a complaint process for exempt institutions.
A package of seven interrelated bills proposing tighter regulation of for-profit and private colleges in California moved closer to becoming law this week — but not fully intact.
One of the bills, a proposal to create the nation’s first state-level gainful-employment rule, was watered down to require only the collection and disclosure of data around employment outcomes of graduates at for-profit colleges.