Misrepresentation Regulations, Part I: What Do They Mean?

The U.S. Department of Education’s misrepresentation regulations, which are slated to go into effect on July 1, 2011, create a significant risk when it comes to performance-based (CPL) Internet marketing. The rules bring a whole new meaning to what constitutes misrepresentation.  Specifically these amendments will:

  • Expand the scope of misrepresentation to include “any statement that has the likelihood or tendency to deceive or confuse” and “any communication made in writing, visually, orally, or through other means.
  • Extend institutional liability for misrepresentation to acts by a “representative” of the college or university, and by parties under an agreement with the college or university “to provide educational programs, marketing, advertising, recruiting, or admissions services.
  • Expand the list to whom misrepresentation can be made to include “any member of the public.”
  • Expand the list of defined misrepresentation within the four existing categories of: 1) description of educational programs, 2) financial charges, 3) employability of graduates, and 4) relationship with the Department of Education.
  • Increase the sanctions available to the Department to include limitation or revocation of Title IV eligibility or denial of applications for new Title IV eligibility

The new rules present a number of ways to unintentionally misrepresent.  Now more than ever schools need to be particularly mindful to review and control the messaging they, and their partners, distribute to prospective students through all channels. The bottom line is that colleges need deeper visibility into their leads and greater control of the process.

Stay tuned for Misrepresentation Regulations Part II, where we’ll talk about the implications we expect to see as a result of the new rules.

Steve Winchester

Steve is the CMO at Helix Education. He has been an advertising account executive for more than 20 years. Steve received his BS from the University of Utah.