Interesting Policy Reads: A Flurry of Online Education Activity, Network Neutrality Legislation, and the President’s Higher Education Executive Order

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This post includes articles on online college efforts, the introduction of a network neutrality bill, new data privacy legislation, and the Trump administration's issuance of an executive order pertaining to campus free speech and college program-level earnings data.

With our "Interesting Policy Reads" blog posts, the EDUCAUSE Policy Office highlights recent articles on federal policy issues and developments that are directly relevant to members or provide insights on higher education policy in general.

  • Nevada Senator takes on racial ad targeting in new data privacy bill, The Verge, February 28, 2019. (The DATA Privacy Act would authorize the Federal Trade Commission to define what is considered discriminatory behavior in targeted ad and data practices and extend the FTC's civil penalty authority for violations of those digital discrimination rules.)
  • Lecture Halls for Learning, Not Watching Netflix, Inside Higher Ed, March 4, 2019. (Purdue University has restricted access to streaming sites in lecture halls, classrooms, and labs across campus Mondays through Fridays in an attempt to ensure bandwidth availability for those who require it to conduct academic work.)
  • UMass plans national online college aimed at adult learners, Boston Globe, March 4, 2019. (The University of Massachusetts announced plans to launch a national online college geared toward adults across the country; the program would be separate from online courses already offered at the institution's campuses.)
  • Net Neutrality is back in play as Democratic lawmakers announce a bill. Here's what to expect, Washington Post, March 6, 2019. (Democratic lawmakers have introduced legislation to restore Obama-era network neutrality rules, but with divided government, the bill's future is uncertain and likely dead on arrival in the Republican-controlled Senate.)
  • A University Goes It (Mostly) Alone Online, Inside Higher Ed, March 6, 2019. (While Southern Methodist University has leaned on outside companies to stand up its online academic programs, the institution intends to build an "in-house unit" to create and operate most elements of its virtual offerings.)
  • UMUC 2.0, Inside Higher Ed, March 13, 2019. (Citing the need to compete with large, national online players like Southern New Hampshire University, the University of Maryland University College—currently the largest online public university—has announced plans to expand its traditional focus on the Maryland, Virginia, and D.C. region to a national realm.)
  • Some Democrats Are Ready to Water Down Their Own Net Neutrality Bill, Motherboard, March 13, 2019. (At a congressional hearing around a democratic bill to restore Obama-era network neutrality rules, some lawmakers indicated that additional compromises to the legislation would be necessary for passage.)
  • How Many Public Universities Can 'Go Big' Online? Inside Higher Ed, March 20, 2019. (There has been no shortage of institution announcements pertaining to online program expansion or creation, raising logical questions around how this flurry of activity will play out in the long run.)
  • Trump Signs Broad Executive Order, Inside Higher Ed, March 22, 2019. (President Trump issued an Executive Order tying federal research funding to institutional protection of free speech and directing the Department of Education to publish program-level data in the College Scorecard on measures of student earnings, debt, default rates, and loan repayment rates.)

Kathryn Branson is an associate with Ulman Public Policy.

© 2019 Kathryn Branson. The text of this work is licensed under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 4.0 International License.