Classroom Technology A Washington Roundup

Distance-Learning Report Sparks Reaction on Hill

By Vaishali Honawar — April 19, 2005 1 min read

Distance education programs improve student access to higher education, and as a consequence, such programs should be expanded, concludes a report from the Department of Education.

Republican leaders on the House Education and the Workforce Committee immediately seized on the report’s findings to call for the elimination of what they said were “outdated barriers” to distance learning, such as the “50 percent rule,” which excludes institutions from offering federal financial aid if they offer more than half their classes through distance education, have half or more of their students enrolled in distance-learning courses, or offer correspondence and telecommunications courses that amount to half or more of all courses.

Rep. John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, the chairman of the House education committee, and Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon, R-Calif., said in a statement that the rule limits the number of courses that can be offered via distance education and the number of students who can participate.

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