This morning, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) updated the Dear Colleague Letter (DCL), originally issued on February 15th, which greatly expanded the definition of Third Party Servicers (TPS), to include a wide range of entities that partner with colleges and universities in a number of areas, including recruitment and retention of learners. Today’s updates make clear the effective date of the guidance is now September 1, 2023. The first version of the letter required institutions to report arrangements with TPSs, while also requiring TPSs to submit information to ED by May 1, both of which have now been extended to the September 1 effective date. Additionally, ED extended the comment period on this new guidance to close 30 days from today – on March 30, 2023.

While the updates to the letter did not include any additional clarity on the new definitions of a TPS, ED did note they are “especially interested” in receiving comments around the limitations of contracting with a TPS operating outside of the U.S. or owned by individuals who are not U.S. citizens. While it appears ED is concerned about holding these entities liable, the limitation has created concerns about the significant impact to postsecondary education.

If you are interested in learning more, Whiteboard Advisors is hosting a webinar on Thursday March 2 at 1:00 ET to talk through the DCL and these latest updates from ED. For any questions, please reach out to us.