SIIA Comments on Department of Education’s Dear Colleague Letter

On behalf of the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), I write to comment on the Department of Education’s Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) on the Requirements and Responsibilities for Third-Party Servicers and Institutions, written on February 16, 2023, and updated on February 28, 2023. SIIA understands the importance of ED’s Title IV oversight role and appreciates the opportunity to respond to the DCL. On behalf of the members of our association, we submit to the Department of Education (ED) to withdraw the current DCL guidance in GEN-23-03 for the following reasons:

1) The definition of Third-Party Servicers (TPS) is overbroad;

2) The limitation on institutions of higher education (IHEs) contracting with a foreign entity will hurt students and the education technology industry;

3) The guidance will unduly burden institutions of higher education and ed tech providers.

The US is a leader in technology innovation across the globe. With this guidance, ED had the opportunity to create an innovative process that truly protects the rights, privacy, and safety of learners while also embracing the diversity of the ed tech field, and creating a competitive advantage with responsible compliance with the requirements of Title IV. However, we believe this guidance not only failed to accomplish ED’s objectives, it will very likely undermine them. In summary, we recommend ED to do the following:

1) Withdraw the DCL and revert the definition of TPS to previous guidance;

2) Eliminate the ban and limitations on IHEs contracting with foreign entities.

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