U of Alaska Considering Consolidation of All of its Colleges into One Accredited Entity!

Dear Commons Community,

In a deep financial crisis, the University of Alaska is desperately trying to find the wherewithal to manage a $136 million state budget cut.  One of the serious considerations is to consolidate the system’s three separately accredited universities in Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Juneau, along with their 13 community campuses, and combine them into one accredited university.  As reported by The Chronicle of Higher Education:

“Each day that goes by without a cost-slashing plan deepens the financial crisis facing the University of Alaska. But deciding where to cut, and when, has become an agonizing ordeal for university regents who met on Tuesday to hash out dueling options.

Whatever they do, they’ll have to do it fast, the system’s president, James R. Johnsen, told regents. With a sweep of his budget pen, the state’s governor, Michael J. Dunleavy, cut $130 million from the university’s state budget for the fiscal year that began July 1. Combined with legislative cuts, the university lost $136 million, or 41 percent of its state budget and 17 percent of its budget over all.

“The board has to decide whether its house is on fire or whether it’s just toast burning,” Johnsen told regents. “In my view,” he added, “our house is on fire.”

Responding to that sense of urgency, the board, after a nearly seven-hour meeting, voted 8 to 3 to authorize Johnsen to begin cutting administrative costs immediately and to start working up a plan for further consolidations. The approach Johnsen and state lawmakers support would take the system’s three separately accredited universities in Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Juneau, along with their 13 community campuses, and combine them into one accredited university.

The board stopped short of endorsing any of the specific models of consolidation the president proposed, but authorized him to draw up a plan for a single-university approach. The board will meet again in September to vote on which cost-cutting option to take.

An alternative to the one-university plan would divvy up the cuts among the three universities and the central administration. The system’s three chancellors proposed a variation of that option during Tuesday’s meeting — a cooperative model that calls for the three to maintain separate identities but work behind the scenes to streamline academic offerings and reduce administrative costs.

Then there’s the option that Dunleavy unexpectedly threw onto the table on Friday. Faced with a fierce backlash over his cuts, Dunleavy said he wanted to “soften the blow” by spreading them out over two years instead of one.

The offer came with a catch; regents would have to cut the programs his administration targeted — a demand the university’s accreditor warned was an inappropriate meddling in university governance.”

We wish our colleagues in Alaska well as they weather this fiscal storm.


Senate Refuses to Consider Election Security:  “Moscow Mitch” Tag Enrages McConnell!


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Dear Commons Community,

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is miffed that he has been given the nickname, Moscow Mitch for refusing to allow legislation on election security to even come up for a debate.  As reported in the New York Times:

“Senator Mitch McConnell is usually impervious to criticism, even celebrating the nasty nicknames critics bestow on him. But Mr. McConnell, the Senate majority leader, is incensed by the name “Moscow Mitch,” and even more miffed that he has been called a “Russian asset” by critics who accuse him of single-handedly blocking stronger election security measures after Russia’s interference in 2016.

Democrats had been making the case for months, but it was supercharged last week by the testimony of Robert S. Mueller III, the former special counsel, who told the House Intelligence Committee that the Russians were back at it “as we sit here.”

Mr. McConnell cites several reasons for his opposition — a longstanding resistance to federal control over state elections, newly enacted security improvements that were shown to have worked in the 2018 voting and his suspicion that Democrats are trying to gain partisan advantage with a host of proposals.

Republican colleagues say that Mr. McConnell, a longtime foe of tougher campaign finance restrictions and disclosure requirements, is leery of even entering into legislative negotiation that could touch on fund-raising and campaign spending.

But whatever Mr. McConnell’s reasoning, the criticism has taken hold — even back home in Kentucky, where the majority leader faces re-election next year.

“Democrats want more aggressive legislation to protect America’s elections after Robert Mueller’s stark warning about Russian interference,” began one report aired on a Louisville television station last week. “Mitch McConnell blocked it.”

Even President Trump felt compelled to come to his defense — as only he could.

“Mitch McConnell is a man that knows less about Russia and Russian influence than even Donald Trump,” the president told reporters Tuesday as he was leaving for a speech in Jamestown, Va. “And I know nothing.”

That did not relieve the heat on the majority leader, who on Monday had appeared to open the door ever so slightly to doing more on election preparedness.

“I’m sure all of us will be open to discussing further steps Congress, the executive branch, the states and the private sector might take to defend our elections against foreign interference,” he said as he seethed on the Senate floor over what he described as McCarthy-style attacks on his integrity and distortions of both his position on election security and his hawkish history of challenging Russia.”

“Moscow Mitch” it is.  Now we need one for the President.  How about “Traitor Trump” or “Putin’s Puppy”!


Juul Executives Grilled by Congress for Marketing to Children!

 Juul brand vaping pens as seen for sale in a shop in Manhattan

Dear Commons Community,

Last Thursday, James Monsees, co-founder of the e-cigarette Juul, went before a subcommittee of the House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Reform to explain the company’s policies for marketing their product to school-age children. Committee members specifically expressed concerns about using social media to influence young people as well as a “holistic health education” program designed to make students aware of the risks of smoking.  As reported by Reuters:

“E-cigarette maker Juul Labs Inc funded a “holistic health education” camp as part of efforts to market directly to school-aged children, members of a U.S. congressional panel said on Thursday, citing internal company documents.

Democrats on a subcommittee of the House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Reform released a cache of internal Juul emails and other documents that committee staff described as early attempts to “enter schools and convey its messaging directly to teenage children.”

Juul’s use of social media influencers to promote its vaping devices in the years after it launched in 2015 also came under scrutiny.

James Monsees, Juul’s co-founder and chief product officer, told the committee that the company’s target audience from the beginning has been adult cigarette smokers.

Among efforts cited in the Juul documents released were a $134,000 payment to set up a five-week “holistic health education” summer camp at a Maryland charter school, recruiting children from third through 12th grades, and offering $10,000 to schools using the company’s “youth prevention and education” programs for students, including those caught using e-cigarette products.

“You don’t think that sounds strange at all?” Representative Katie Hill, a Democrat, asked Juul’s chief administrative officer, Ashley Gould.

“All of these educational efforts were intended to keep youth from using the product,” Gould responded. When Juul realized how the school involvement could be perceived as negative, “we stopped the program,” she said.

In a statement after the hearing, Juul said the $134,000 donation was to “facilitate already-existing community outreach and youth-prevention programs,” and said the company “did not have any direct interaction with the students.”

Several committee members said Juul’s initiatives appeared similar to past efforts by the tobacco industry to reach young people under the guise of smoking prevention programs. Gould said Juul, which is 35 percent owned by Marlboro maker Altria Group Inc,  halted its program last year once it became aware of the tobacco industry’s past moves.

Caleb Mintz, 17, a New York city high school student, testified at a separate hearing on Wednesday that a Juul representative came to his school as part of an educational program on mental health and addiction last year. He said in an interview Thursday that students received “mixed messages” about the product, being told it was safe but not to buy it.

Mintz said after the hearing that the Juul presentation seemed to be “playing to the side of teens as rebellious. When a teen is told not to do something, they’re more likely to do it.”

Members of the committee also quizzed Gould and Monsees over the use of social media influencers to promote Juul’s vaping devices.

Company executives early on agreed that “younger consumers age 25 to 34 was going to be the target of our initial campaign,” Monsees said. “They would be more receptive to new technology solutions,” such as the Juul device.

Amid an enormous uptick in teenage use of e-cigarettes in 2018 — a 78% increase among high school students from 2017 to 2018, according to federal data — Juul said it ended all social media advertising last fall. Juul also pulled many flavored nicotine pods, except mint, menthol and tobacco, from retail stores, which Monsees said represented more than half of the company’s sales at that time.”

It sounds to me that Juul has taken the same marketing strategy to hook young people to its products as the tobacco industry did for years in the 1960s and forward.  For shame!


Dan Coats Resigns as Director of National Intelligence!

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Dear Commons Community,

President Trump announced yesterday that Dan Coats would step down as the director of national intelligence.  Trump also announced that Representative John Ratcliffe would be the new director.  As reported by the New York Times:

“Mr. Coats, a former senator and longtime pillar of the Republican establishment who angered the president by providing unwelcome assessments of Russia, North Korea and other matters, told Mr. Trump last week that it was time to move on, officials said. His departure removes one of the most prominent national security officials willing to contradict the president.

If Mr. Ratcliffe is confirmed by the Senate, he will offer a starkly different perspective in the Situation Room, one more in line with Mr. Trump’s thinking. Mr. Ratcliffe, a third-term Republican from Texas and a former prosecutor, has embraced Mr. Trump’s theories about the Russia investigation and was among the sharpest questioners of Robert S. Mueller III, the former special counsel, at last week’s hearings.

Mr. Trump met with Mr. Ratcliffe on July 19 to discuss the job, but the hearings just five days later offered the congressman a chance to essentially audition for the president, who enjoyed watching him grill Mr. Mueller, according to people informed about the process.

Some Republicans, however, privately expressed concern, including Senator Richard M. Burr of North Carolina, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, who cautioned the president’s advisers that he considered Mr. Ratcliffe too political for the post, according to people familiar with the discussions. Mr. Trump disregarded the warning.

“I am pleased to announce that highly respected Congressman John Ratcliffe of Texas will be nominated by me to be the Director of National Intelligence,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter after reports in Axios and The New York Times about the personnel change. “A former U.S. Attorney, John will lead and inspire greatness for the Country he loves.”

The president offered appreciation but scant praise for Mr. Coats. “I would like to thank Dan for his great service to our Country,” Mr. Trump wrote without elaboration.

Mr. Burr made no comment about Mr. Ratcliffe, a telling decision for the Republican whose committee will consider his confirmation. Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, his Democratic vice chairman, likewise did not mention Mr. Ratcliffe, but offered pointed praise for Mr. Coats.

“The mission of the intelligence community is to speak truth to power,” Mr. Warner said in a statement. “As D.N.I., Dan Coats stayed true to that mission.”

Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, did not hold back, saying that Mr. Ratcliffe was clearly “selected because he exhibited blind loyalty to President Trump with his demagogic questioning” of Mr. Mueller and that his confirmation “would be a big mistake.”

Mr. Coats, 76, who represented Indiana in the House and the Senate for 24 years and served as ambassador to Germany under President George W. Bush, had been an important link between Mr. Trump and the Republican establishment. Without Mr. Coats or figures like Jim Mattis, Mr. Trump’s first defense secretary, and Nikki R. Haley, the former ambassador to the United Nations, the president is increasingly surrounded by loyalists.”

Mr. Coats will be missed.  He was one of the few Republicans who maintained a semblance of independence from the President.


Jared Kushner:  Baltimore Slumlord!

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Dear Commons Community,

For the past three days, the media has been aggressively covering Donald Trump’s outrageous and disgusting comments about the city of Baltimore.  Well it appears that Trump’s son-in-law, Ivanka’s husband, Jared Kushner, is a Baltimore slumlord.   As reported by several news outlets:

“After a series of vicious attacks on their home by their own president, proud Baltimoreans are standing by their city. But there is something local they would likely be happy to ditch: decrepit “Kushnerville” housing provided by Donald Trump’s own son-in-law, who has been blasted by tenants in the press as a “slumlord.” 

Trump lashed out on Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) in yet another attack on an African-American because of the congressman’s criticism of inhumane treatment of immigrants at the southern border, and slammed Cummings’ Baltimore district as a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess.” 

Ironically, Jared Kushner’s many Baltimore area housing projects — which he continues to own even as he works as a senior White House adviser — racked up hundreds of building-code violations creating the kind of conditions that Trump hints at. 

“We expect all landlords to comply with the code requirements that protect the health and safety of their tenants — even if the landlord’s father-in-law is President of the United States,” said a statement at the time by Baltimore County officials.

A scathing investigation in 2017 by ProPublica and co-published by The New York Times — headlined “The Beleaguered Tenants of Kushnerville” — slammed the multiple projects purchased by Kushner Cos. when it was helmed by Jared Kushner and managed by a subsidiary. Kushner Cos. bought up some 15 complexes, almost all of them in the Baltimore area, housing as many as 20,000 people, according to ProPublica. None of the housing complexes are in Cummings’ district but several are close enough to share a ZIP code, Bloomberg reports, and many house African-Americans.

The investigation examined charges of decrepit conditions and lawsuits filed against tenants when they tried to move out. One court case described a leaking bedroom ceiling, maggots in the living room carpet and raw sewage spewing form the kitchen sink in a complex called “The Cove.” It’s the kind of apartment in which “no human being” would “want to live,” to quote Trump’s comment about Cummings’ Baltimore district. 

Residents argued in lawsuits that rents in the buildings were padded with mysteriously added fees or late fees as part of a ruse to evict them when the money wasn’t paid. Kushner Cos. opted to switch the suit late last year to state court after a federal judge ordered the company to reveal the identity of company investors. The cases are ongoing.

Because Kushner retained his interest in the complexes, the White House told The Baltimore Sun that he would recuse himself from any policy decisions about federal Section 8 housing subsidies. Many tenants of the Kushner complexes rely on Section 8 to pay their rent, the newspaper noted. 

Though Trump is bashing Cummings over his complaints about treatment of immigrants, he may be trying to undermine the congressman as he seeks records from Kushner. The House Oversight Committee, headed by Cummings, voted Thursday to authorize a subpoena for all work-related texts and emails secretly sent and received on personal accounts by Kushner and wife Ivanka Trump. Both Kushner and the first daughter have admitted using personal accounts for work messages. The president has repeatedly slammed Hillary Clinton for using a personal server for work-related emails.”

Like father, like daughter, like son-in-law!


Maureen Dowd:  Democrats Must Keep Their Eyes on Larger Prize – Defeat Trump in 2020!

Dear Commons Community,

New York Times columnist, Maureen Dowd, warns Democrats who want to move forward with impeachment proceedings that they jeopardize winning in 2020.  Here is an excerpt from her column this morning.

“My father stayed up all night the night Truman was elected because he was so excited. I would like to stay up ’til dawn the night a Democrat wins next year because I’m so excited to see the moment when the despicable Donald Trump lumbers into a Marine helicopter and flies away for good.

But Democrats are making that dream ever more distant because they are using their time knifing one another and those who want to be on their side instead of playing it smart.

House Democrats forced Robert Mueller to testify, after he made it clear that he was spent and had nothing to add to his damning yet damnably legalistic, double-negative report, because they were hoping the hearings would jump-start howls for impeachment.

But it’s hard to get the mad blood stirring with Muellerisms like “This is outside my purview,” “I can’t get into that,” “I don’t subscribe necessarily to your — the way you analyze that,” and “I’m not going to go into the ins and outs.”

I never want to hear about the Office of Legal Counsel opinion again.

The Republicans were impressively craven and hypocritical. They are sticking with Trump, and no pallid reminder of his turpitude, his trellis of obstructions and his unpatriotic embrace of foreign interference in our elections, will change that.

The always blockheaded Louie Gohmert (Republican Congressman) shouldn’t even be allowed to hold the coat of Mueller, a war hero and respected public official. But Gohmert yelled such crazy stuff at the former special counsel that he appeared to be auditioning for a spot on Fox News’s “The Five.”

The hearings were shameful for Republicans thirsting for re-election and a failure for Democrats thirsting for impeachment. It was many underwhelming hours of members of Congress reading to Mueller and Mueller saying, Yes, that’s what I wrote. Or at least what somebody wrote.

The recipe for emotional satisfaction on the part of the progressive left is not a recipe for removing Trump from the White House.

The argument about whether Trump is impeachable is the wrong argument. Mueller settled that. We know Trump did things worthy of impeachment. That is not the question we should be asking. The question is: Should he be impeached?

The progressive Puritans think we must honor the Constitution and go for it because it’s the right thing to do.

You can argue that impeachment, morally and constitutionally, is the right thing to do. But you also have to recognize that, historically and politically, it is not the right thing to do because it will lead to disaster.

The attempt to impeach Trump is one of the rare cases in which something obviously justified is obviously stupid.

Unbelievably, Pelosi — long a G.O.P. target for her unalloyed liberalism — is derided by the far left for her pragmatism. But she has been through enough Washington wars to know that idealism, untempered by realism, is dangerous.

An impeachment could return Trump to power. The highchair king from Fifth Avenue would exult in his victimhood and energize his always-ready-to-be aggrieved followers.

It could also lead to Democrats losing the House as their moderates fall and help Republicans hold the Senate. No Republicans would vote for impeaching Trump and some Democrats might refuse as well. Even if the House acted, Mitch McConnell would smother it in the Senate, just like he did Merrick Garland.

It’s better to pull out Trump by the roots in the election and firmly repudiate him. The Democrats should focus on the future, not the benighted past that we have been relegated to under Trump.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign focused on what a terrible person Trump is. It turned out that enough voters knew that and didn’t care. They wanted a racist Rottweiler.

Now the Democrats are once more focused on what a terrible person Trump is. Message received, many times over.

The progressives’ cry that they don’t care about the political consequences because they have a higher cause is just a purity racket.

Their mantra is like that of Ferdinand I, the Holy Roman Emperor: “Fiat iustitia, et pereat mundus.” “Let justice be done, though the world perish.”

Let’s save the world first and do the justice after 2020!



Our Crass President Trump Denigrates Baltimore District Represented by Elijah Cummings!

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Elijah Cummings

Dear Commons Community,

President Donald Trump yesterday denigrated a majority-black district represented by Elijah Cummings  as a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess.”  

Trump lashed out in tweets against Rep. Elijah Cummings, the House Oversight Committee chairman, claiming his Baltimore-area district is “considered the worst run and most dangerous anywhere in the United States.” It was the president’s latest assault on a prominent lawmaker, and the people he represents, two weeks after he sparked nationwide controversy with racist tweets directed at four congresswomen of color.  As reported by the Associated Press.

“His comments against Cummings, who leads multiple investigations of the president’s governmental dealings, drew swift condemnation from Democrats, including would-be presidential rivals. Statements from a spokesman for the state’s Republican governor and from the lieutenant governor defended Cummings’ district and its people.

Trump called Cummings a “brutal bully” after his public tongue-lashing of top Homeland Security officials over conditions for migrants detained along the southern border.

“As proven last week during a Congressional tour, the Border is clean, efficient & well run, just very crowded,” Trump tweeted. “Cumming District is a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess.”

Cummings replied directly to Trump on Twitter, saying, “Mr. President, I go home to my district daily. Each morning, I wake up, and I go and fight for my neighbors. It is my constitutional duty to conduct oversight of the Executive Branch. But, it is my moral duty to fight for my constituents.”

Cummings has also drawn the president’s ire for investigations touching on his family members serving in the White House. On Thursday his committee voted along party lines to authorize subpoenas for personal emails and texts used for official business by top White House aides, including Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner.

After spending several hours on his private golf course in Virginia, Trump repeated the attack on Cummings, despite broad criticism from Democrats.

“Elijah Cummings spends all of his time trying to hurt innocent people through ‘Oversight,’” Trump tweeted. “He does NOTHING for his very poor, very dangerous and very badly run district!”

The latest comments come as Trump has placed racial animus at the center of his reelection campaign, as he believes his inflammatory rhetoric will strengthen his support among the white working class and attract a new group of disaffected voters who fear cultural changes across America.

Cummings’ district is about 55% black and includes a large portion of Baltimore. It is home to the national headquarters of the NAACP and Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins Hospital.

The city has struggled with violent crime, with more than 300 homicides for four years in a row. It has crumbling infrastructure and a police department under federal oversight.

Cummings’ district also extends into Maryland’s Baltimore and Howard counties.”

Trump once again embarrasses himself and the Office of the President.  It appears that hurling racial epithets will be the center of his reelection campaign.


As Supreme Court Approves Border Wall Funding – Ruth Bader Ginsburg Praises Kavanaugh and Gorsuch As ‘Very Decent And Very Smart’

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Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Dear Commons Community,

The US Supreme Court yesterday gave President Trump a victory in his fight for a wall along the Mexican border by allowing the administration to begin using $2.5 billion in Pentagon money for its construction.  In a 5-to-4 ruling with five conservative justices voting in favor, the court overturned an appellate decision and said that the administration could tap the money while litigation over the matter proceeds. But that will most likely take many months or longer, allowing Mr. Trump to move ahead before the case returns to the Supreme Court after further proceedings in the appeals court.  While the order was only one paragraph long and unsigned, the Supreme Court said the groups challenging the administration did not appear to have a legal right to do so. That was an indication that the court’s conservative majority was likely to side with the administration in the end.

Meanwhile, in a separate forum on Wednesday, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg offered a  defense of the two Trump-appointed justices, Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch and called for an end to the “dysfunction” in confirming Supreme Court nominees.  As reported by CNN:

“I can say that my two newest colleagues are very decent and very smart individuals,” she said  at an event in Washington, D.C., hosted by Duke Law School as she answered questions from Neil Siegel, a law professor and one of her former law clerks.

Now that the Supreme Court term has ended, Ginsburg, 86, has been pushing back against criticism of the court, saying in a recent interview with NPR that the nine justices work well together and rebutted the idea that the Supreme Court is a partisan institution, according to the news outlet.

The comments to NPR from Ginsburg — who earlier this year took a break from the court after undergoing cancer surgery — come amid concerns from progressives that her death or retirement would give President Donald Trump an opportunity to replace a reliably liberal seat on the court with a conservative justice. Ginsburg has sought in recent days to signal that her health is stable and she has no plans to step down with the court facing major issues in its next session on immigration, gun control, gay rights and possibly abortion.

Kavanaugh was sworn in on October 6, following a contentious confirmation hearing inflamed by allegations of sexual assault against him. Kavanaugh replaced retired Justice Anthony Kennedy, who had been the court’s swing vote.

Gorsuch took his seat on April 10, 2017, filling the vacancy left by the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Both were nominated to the Supreme Court by Trump.

Ginsburg has previously praised Kavanaugh for helping the court achieve a historic first.

“There is a very important first on the Supreme Court this term, and it’s thanks to our new justice, Justice Kavanaugh, whose entire staff is all women. All of his law clerks are women,” she said earlier this month at a event held by Georgetown Law School. “And with his four women as law clerks, it’s the first time in the history of the United States that there have been more women clerking at the court than men.”

Although we should question the funding for the wall, we respect what Bader Ginsburg says!


Fox News Legal Analyst Andrew Napolitano Shames Donald Trump For Unleashing ‘Torrent Of Hatred’

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Andrew Napolitano

Dear Commons Community,

Fox News legal analyst Andrew Napolitano has accused President Donald Trump of unleashing “a torrent of hatred” with his attacks on four Democratic congresswomen of color.

In a scathing op-ed published on the Fox News website yesterday, Napolitano said he now regretted believing that Trump had changed over the years.

“I have known President Trump personally since 1986,” Napolitano wrote. “The private Trump I have known is funny, charming and embracing. That is not the public Trump of today.”

Napolitano said government workers “take an oath to support the Constitution,” which itself “not only commands of government both racial neutrality and color blindness, it generally prohibits government officials from making distinctions among people on the basis of immutable characteristics.”

“So, when the president defies these moral and constitutional norms and tells women of color to ‘Go back,’ he raises a terrifying specter,” Napolitano wrote. “The specter is hatred not for ideas he despises but for the people who embrace those ideas. The specter is also a dog whistle to groups around the country that hatred is back in fashion and is acceptable to articulate publicly.”

Hatred “must be rejected loudly in all its forms – especially when it comes from the president,” Napolitano added.

Congratulations to Judge Napolitano for breaking from the Fox News spin.  Donald Trump must have had a fit when he read it!




U.S. Education Department Denying Federal Aid to 80,000 California Students Enrolled in Online Programs!

Dear Commons Community,

Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Education announced that a judge’s ruling had effectively made Californians who attend an out-of-state college online ineligible for federal aid.  Approximately 80,000 students could be affected.   As reported by The Chronicle of Higher Education:

“The U.S. Department of Education released a notice on Monday that California students enrolled in distance or online programs at public or private nonprofit colleges based outside the state would no longer qualify for federal aid.

The reason is that California does not have a process to handle the complaints of those students, as required under the “state authorization” rules devised by the Obama administration. The Trump administration had sought to delay those regulations, set to go into effect a year ago, but a judge ruled recently that they be enforced.

The department released its guidance so late in the summer that California students at risk of losing federal aid will not have time to make alternative plans, said a letter to the education secretary, Betsy DeVos, sent on Thursday by six higher-education groups.

“In short, the likely outcome will be that thousands of students are either forced to drop out of, or never begin, postsecondary education,” the letter says.

Western Governors University, a nonprofit institution that enrolls mostly working adults, could see some 11,000 students lose their aid, said Scott D. Pulsipher, its president. And the students rely on federal aid, he said, with about 70 percent coming from low-income or minority families.

The institution could also take a financial hit. Western Governors has given out about $8 million in aid to students who would be ineligible to receive more federal dollars, according to the university’s early estimates. And because the department made its guidance retroactive to May 26, “it is currently unclear what the Department of Education expects institutions, like WGU, to do for students who, in good faith, have been awarded funds, but are now ineligible,” the university’s spokeswoman, Melissa Luke, said in an email.

While Western Governors may have more students enrolled from California than do many other colleges, the economic damage could be widespread, but only for the public and private nonprofit colleges that enroll online students in the state, said Leah K. Matthews, executive director of the Distance Education Accreditation Commission.

“The irony shouldn’t be lost that this isn’t harming any private for-profit institutions,” Matthews said. “It could actually be driving business to them.”

For-profit colleges will not be affected because California’s Bureau of Private Postsecondary Education handles complaints from proprietary institutions, including those based outside the state.

The organization set up to manage complaints about public and nonprofit colleges, the California Postsecondary Education Commission, was eliminated in 2011, to save $2 million at a time when the state’s budget was reeling from the Great Recession.

Several institutions have pledged to temporarily bridge any loss of federal aid for their students, said the letter from the higher-education groups. But real solutions, both in the short and long term, will have to come from either California policy makers or the Education Department.

The state’s attorney general or department of consumer affairs could set up a process to handle student complaints, said David Tandberg, a vice president at the State Higher Education Executive Officers.

But so far, he said, no state agency had stepped forward to take on that responsibility. “I find it interesting that no office is jumping at the chance,” Tandberg said, “because they would be the hero.”

California officials could also move to join the 49 states that have signed reciprocal agreements to standardize the patchwork of regulations to oversee colleges within their borders. California has resisted that move so far, fearing that the standards in the reciprocity agreements are too low to protect the state’s students.

The Obama-era rule “rightfully reinforces states’ jurisdiction to protect their residents,”

Debbie Cochrane, executive vice president of the Institute for College Access and Success, a California-based organization, said in an email. State lawmakers are now considering their options, she said, but “there are better and faster solutions for California” than joining the other states’ compact.

The Education Department also has several options to resolve the crisis. New regulations, recently approved through the negotiated rule-making process, will eliminate the requirement for a complaint process, but they are unlikely to go into effect until July 2020.

The education secretary has some authority to expedite those new rules, according to the higher-education groups. The Education Department could also petition for a change in the court order that required the existing rules to be enforced.

Liz Hill, a spokeswoman for the department, said the situation is a result of a lawsuit that, under the judge’s ruling, forced the agency to put in place a set of flawed rules. In an email she said the department was in the process of asking the court to intervene. “It’s my understanding that we are petitioning the judge in this case,” Hill wrote.

Pulsipher said he was at least somewhat confident that everyone would come together to find a solution. “Neither California nor the Education Department nor institutions,” he said, “want to have students stranded.”

If not resolved, this will be a financial nightmare for California’s online students.