Federal regulations may seem like an arcane process, far removed from the day-to-day mission of teaching, learning and running today’s colleges and universities. But the recent report by the Department of Education’s Inspector General (IG) — concluding that Western Governors University should repay over $700 million in federal financial aid and no longer be eligible for fututre federal financial aid — highlights an important point: We are still operating within a policy framework designed primarily to serve the needs of students and institutions of the past.
The framers of past laws and policies could not have envisioned the millions of parents, working adults, veterans and other learners who now enroll in programs that help them complete their degree based on prior knowledge and credit already earned. Nor could they have foreseen how technology has transformed the way we teach and learn — or how higher education institutions are continuously adapting to a much broader range of student needs.
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