EDUCAUSE and ARL Members Highlight TPS Problems

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EDUCAUSE and the Association of Research Libraries submitted a joint response to the U.S. Department of Education that includes examples from their members of the problems posed by the recent third-party servicer guidance.

On March 30, EDUCAUSE and the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) issued a joint response to the U.S. Department of Education (ED) about its third-party servicer (TPS) regulatory guidance. EDUCAUSE had previously submitted comments to ED regarding its TPS "Dear Colleague Letter" on March 7.Footnote1 In the joint letter, EDUCAUSE and ARL provide examples from member institutions and libraries of the problems the TPS guidance generates. The letter addressed the following areas:

  • The ban in the guidance on foreign-owned or located firms serving as TPSs and the disruption that its rapid, unanticipated application to institutional systems would cause
  • How the extension of TPS requirements to instructional content providers could negatively affect systems on which libraries rely to support learning and research
  • The problematic application of the TPS regulations to learning analytics systems and services
  • The increased financial and administrative burdens that compliance with the reporting and audit requirements in the guidance will impose

With these examples in mind, EDUCAUSE and ARL reiterated the call for ED to rescind the current TPS guidance on the basis that it is overly broad, insufficiently grounded in law and regulation, and unworkable given the September 1, 2023, effective date. The associations asked the department to move quickly in withdrawing the guidance given the virtual certainty of a widespread inability by colleges and universities to comply with it in the available time or the foreseeable future.

We will be watching for such action and assessing options for outreach to ED and other stakeholders if it does not happen in the near future.


  1. Jarret Cummings, "EDUCAUSE and Third-Party Servicer Guidance," EDUCAUSE Review, March 16, 2023; "(GEN-23-03) Requirements and Responsibilities for Third-Party Servicers and Institutions (Updated Feb. 28, 2023)," Federal Student Aid, updated March 2, 2023; EDUCAUSE and Association of Research Libraries letter to the Honorable Miguel Cardona, Secretary, U.S. Department of Education, "Regarding Docket ID ED-2022-OPE-0103," March 30, 2023. Jump back to footnote 1 in the text.

Jarret Cummings is Senior Advisor for Policy and Government Relations at EDUCAUSE.

© 2023 Jarret Cummings. The text of this work is licensed under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 4.0 International License.