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Written by David Tandberg, senior vice president for policy research and strategic initiatives at SHEEO & Alejandra Acosta, policy analyst at New America

At the beginning of the pandemic, the Department of Education (ED) moved swiftly to publish flexibilities for educational entities dealing with the consequences of the pandemic response. …


Written by Lynette Kuhn

Can you hear me now? Can you see me? Oh wait, you’re frozen! Never mind, I can see you again! These are all phrases that have become staples in our workdays now. With numerous household rooms becoming offices, state authorization agencies have been forced into the virtual world, and the virtual visit has now become a reality in Pennsylvania. Using Microsoft Teams, we have created a space for real-time communication to confirm institutional compliance and provide approvals that will permit institutions to move forward with new initiatives despite commonwealth travel restrictions.

As I write this, my seven-month-old is playing in front of me and watching “Paw Patrol.” While I never envisioned my living room becoming my office, I have realized the pandemic has allowed for a more personal approach to the workplace and has provided the opportunity to experiment with new processes. Nowhere has this been more evident than in the world of education, which has embraced the pandemic’s many challenges by converting to a virtual environment. At the Office of Postsecondary and Higher Education (OPHE) in Pennsylvania, we embarked on this virtual journey as well, and brainstormed how we could continue our site visits with institutions and prevent delays from occurring in the operations or approvals of the institutions. …


By Dr. Lori Williams, president and CEO of the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements

With hundreds of thousands of college students facing the possibility of another semester of remote learning and campus closures due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this is an important time to review critical consumer protections ingrained in our nation’s distance education system to better understand how states and accreditors assure quality.

In July 2019, SHEEO, the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association, published an essay here on Medium entitled, “The State’s Role in Ensuring Quality and Consumer Protection in Higher Education: The Case of State Authorization” (Tandberg, Brueker, and Weeden), which referenced a longer white paper they authored at the same time, “Improving State Authorization: The State Role in Ensuring Quality and Consumer Protection in Higher Education.” …

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