American Education Laws
The 50-percent rule was created in 1992 and continues today within the 1998 reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. This regulation excludes Title-IV eligible institutions from offering federal financial aid if: it offers more than half its classes through distance education, has half or more of its students enrolled in distance learning courses, or offers correspondence and telecommunications courses that amount to half or more of all courses. The 50-percent provision is a statute that can be revised or eliminated only by Congress.
12-Hour Rule :-
Like the 50-percent rule, the 12-hour rule's original intent was to ward off fraud by diploma mills and correspondence programs. It mandated non-traditional, higher education programs that did not operate on a traditional academic calendar to provide at least 12 hours of "regularly scheduled instruction, examinations, or preparation for examination" per week of instructional time in order for students to be eligible for federal financial aid. Unlike the 50-percent rule, which is written into law, the 12-hour rule was an Education Department regulation. It was repealed in November 2002 under the Internet Equity and Education Act of 2001.
Distance Education Demonstration Program (DEDP) :-
In 1998, the Distance Education Demonstration Program (DEDP) was created as a test to see if the rules regarding financial aid for distance education needed to be changed. Congress granted a number of distance learning colleges, universities, systems and consortia of institutions waivers from the 50-percent rule and/or 12-hour rule in order to give students greater access to Title IV funding. This program is scheduled to continue through the 2004-05 academic year when Congress is expected to consider comprehensive changes to the Higher Education Act.
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) :-
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, also known as the Buckley Amendment, are federal guidelines that deal with the privacy of student records. In particular, FERPA addresses the confidentiality of student education records, as well as the release and review of those records. Students have the right to: review their educational records; request amendments to those records to ensure that they are not inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of their privacy or other rights; have consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained within their records; and file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures to comply with the requirements of FERPA.
Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization Act (TEACH Act) :-
Copyright law gives educators a separate set of rights, in addition to fair use, to display and perform the works of other in the classroom. However, before the TEACH Act was signed into law in October 2002, a virtual classroom was held to much different standards. The TEACH Act revises the U.S. Copyright Act and expands the scope of educators' rights to perform and display works and to make the copies integral to such performances and displays for distance learning courses and programs. While the right are closer to that of a traditional, physical classroom, there exists a considerable gap between what the statute authorizes for face-to-face teaching vs. distance education.
Relevant Links to Education Laws and Regulations
Higher Education Act of 1965
1998 Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act
Distance Education Demonstration Program (DEDP)
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization Act (TEACH Act)
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