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ERIC Number: ED593878
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2019
Pages: 9
Abstractor: As Provided
Regular and Substantive Interaction: Background, Concerns, and Guiding Principle
Online Learning Consortium
Regular and substantive interaction (RSI) between instructors and students is a core component distinguishing distance education from correspondence education. In contrast to correspondence education where students are not in regular and substantive interaction with instructors, distance education is eligible for Title IV financial aid because of the presence of RSI. Although the statutory and regulatory definitions of distance education state, in part, that it must "support regular and substantive interaction between the students and the instructor, synchronously or asynchronously" (Higher Education Opportunity Act, Pub.L. 110-315, 122 Stat. 3078, codified as amended at 34 C.F.R. §600.2), the meaning of the term "regular and substantive interaction" (RSI) has never been clearly defined in either statute or by the Department of Education. As such, institutions offering distance education are held to a standard that impacts financial aid eligibility that remains ill-defined by the Department of Education and Congress. Although much of the recent discussion around RSI has focused on its application to online direct assessment and competency-based education (CBE), it remains a critical issue for all institutions offering distance education and must be clearly defined in such a way that takes into consideration the needs of all distance education modalities and educational innovations.
Online Learning Consortium, Inc. PO Box 1238, Newburyport, MA 01950. Tel: 617-716-1414; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Online Learning Consortium (OLC); WCET (WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies); University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA)
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Higher Education Act Amendments 1992; Higher Education Act Amendments 1998
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A