“The education industry is trying to find a balance between institutional control of the relationships between colleges and the vendors they pay for online program management services and federal oversight of the technology, which the U.S. Education Department said last month it’s reviewing.
Panelists at a virtual event Wednesday hosted by the Center for Advancing Learning, a policy arm of the software company Anthology, largely agreed that the department should serve an expanded role in OPM oversight. Some speakers were wary, though, that strengthened regulations could disrupt how colleges pay OPMs through tuition-sharing or how contracts feed into an institution’s nonprofit status.
More than 500 schools contract with companies for tasks like marketing, analytics and recruitment. As more schools signed up during the pandemic, it raised alarms among legislators on whether these activities — specifically tuition-sharing for services including recruitment — violated incentive-based compensation rules in higher education.
A Government Accountability Office report last month urged the Education Department to update its rules and better train auditors tasked with gathering information on contracts.”