Title IV (Federal Student Aid) Requirements

Title IV regulations include definitions for “distance education” and articulate standards for how credit hours, attendance, and a “week of instructional time” must be determined in the context of Title IV eligible online courses and programs. For instance, attendance and instructional weeks must be measured in terms of academic engagement (actual engagement in the former and the opportunity for in the latter) rather than access to a course. Moreover, academic engagement should be monitored and instructors must provide opportunities for substantive interaction with students in a predictable and scheduled manner as well as on the basis of such monitoring.

Key Title IV Terms

The U.S. Department of Education periodically updates definitions for terms such as academic engagement, attendance, credit hours, and “regular and substantive interaction” in distance education courses.

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Academic Engagement, Attendance, & Credit Hours – Practical Overview

CAI has created a Practical Overview handout covering Attendance, Academic Engagement, and Credit Hour Estimates in greater detail.

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Regular and Substantive Interaction – Practical Overview

CAI maintains a separate Practical Overview handout devoted to Regular and Substantive Interaction, where recent rulemaking changes took effect on July 1, 2021.

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Additional Title IV Resources

We encourage you to continue reading about key Title IV terms and requirements for distance education.

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