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The U.S. Department of Education will be required to implement long-delayed rules around state authorization of online programs following a judge’s ruling on a lawsuit against the department, as first reported in Politico.

The rules, proposed during the Obama administration, were to set to go into effect last July. Two months before they were due for implementation, the department delayed them until 2020, citing confusion from institutions and lobbying groups.

Two unions -- the National Education Association and the California Teachers Association -- last August sued the department in the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California, alleging that the department failed to follow the correct process. The plaintiffs urged immediate implementation of the Obama-era rules.

In the meantime, a process of debating revisions of a broad swath of federal rules around higher education innovation culminated this month in a new set of proposed rules around state authorization that could go into effect as early as July 2020.

Both sets of rules require institutions to secure authorization from each state in which they intend to enroll students. The Obama-era rules require an institution to make numerous disclosures to students regarding distance education programs, while the more recent proposed set of rules (here and here) includes a shorter list of required disclosures.

The Obama-era rules could go into effect as early as next month, according to the Politico report. The recently agreed-upon updates, meanwhile, could follow next year, though additional tweaks and delays are possible before then.

A spokesperson for the department didn't return a request for comment in time for publication.