TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Thursday, May 9, 2019

California Mulls Crackdown On Online Higher Ed

Inside Higher Ed, California Mulls Crackdown on Online Partnerships:

State lawmakers in California have proposed seven interrelated bills that would tighten regulation of for-profit and private colleges.

The goal of the legislative package, bill sponsors say, is to make colleges put student success before profit — and to ensure that fewer students are saddled with debt and low-paying jobs. ...

State law requires that all private institutions with a physical presence in the state must apply for approval to operate with the bureau, unless they meet specific criteria for an exemption, such as accreditation from a regional accreditor, said Matt Woodcheke, a spokesman for the bureau.

According to an analysis by lawyers at CooleyED, the law could apply to out-of-state distance education providers that enroll California residents.

Regionally accredited private institutions, such as the University of Southern California, which has partnered with OPM provider 2U on an online master of social work and several other academic programs, apparently would not be directly affected. ...

Anthony Guida Jr., a lawyer and partner at Duane Morris LLP, said the bill's impact would be fairly limited in scope. “The portion of the California education code that we’re dealing with only deals with proprietary institutions that by definition would not include any public California colleges,” he said. Guida also cited the exemption for private, regionally accredited universities such as USC. “If you look at the institutions that are actually authorized by BPPE, a lot of colleges that OPMs would want to market with aren’t covered by this legislation.”

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