Defining 'Regular and Substantive' Interaction in the Online Era

August 8, 2018
  • Advocacy
  • Financial Aid and FAFSA
  • Industry News
  • Distance Education
  • Federal Regulations
  • Federal relations
  • online education

The fate of billions of dollars in student aid could rest on what the Trump administration decides in coming months about an obscure distance learning regulation, one that is as old as dial-up internet.

At issue: a 1992 clause buried deep in Title IV student aid regulations that requires institutions to ensure "regular and substantive interaction" takes place between instructors and students in at least half of their online course work or for at least half of students.

Diane Auer Jones, the administration's top higher education official, said in an interview last month with Inside Higher Ed that the U.S. Department of Education is considering eliminating not just the standard credit-hour definition of academic course work -- it may also overhaul "regular and substantive" requirements. Online education proponents and a few others call it an anachronistic impediment to innovation in an era where one-third of students study at least partially online, but others aren't so sure.

Read more at Inside Higher Ed: