Letter to the Department of Education on Impact of State Authorization Rule Change on California Students
July 25, 2019

​ACE sent this letter to Department of Education (ED) Secretary Betsy DeVos regarding a rule change that threatens to leave an estimated 80,000 California students without financial aid.

ED announced July 22 that California residents pursuing online education offered by out-of-state public and nonprofit institutions became ineligible for federal financial aid after the department began implementing the Obama-era rules governing online colleges in May.  The “state authorization” rules officially took effect on May 26 after a federal judge struck down ED's efforts to delay them.  With only one month until the start of the fall semester, many students may be forced to drop out of, or never begin, postsecondary education.

The letter urges ED to take two actions to mitigate this harm to students:

  1. Move quickly to finalize and issue the new state authorization regulations, separating them from the other pending rules that are part of the accreditation regulatory package in order to speed the process.
  2. ​File an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Court requesting the district court judge’s order in the case National Education Association v. Betsy DeVos be stayed because of the immediate harm to students.

Along with ACE, associations signing the letter include:

  • ​American Association of Community Colleges
  • American Association of State Colleges and Universities
  • Association of American Universities
  • Association of Public and Land-grant Universities
  • National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities