Education Dept. Clarifies Rules on Incentive Compensation, Credit Hour, and Distance Education

The tighter federal restrictions on paying incentives to admissions recruiters that take effect in July will not prohibit deans and presidents from encouraging prospects to attend their institution or bar colleges from using outside companies to help them locate, advise, and recruit students via the Internet or other means, according to assurances provided this week by the Education Department.

The assurances came in a 15-page "Dear Colleague" letter the department released on Thursday evening, a document designed to clarify three regulations announced in October and effective in July.

The letter was intended to clear up concerns over the regulations that have been particularly controversial: rules relating to incentive compensation on student recruiting; requirements that colleges’ distance-education offerings comply with state licensing regulations; and bans on misrepresenting information about colleges in marketing and admissions practices.

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