At the beginning of last year, two key Democratic senators wrote five companies that hire with colleges to take their academic programs online, requesting information designed to address the concern of legislators that business trading practices "seem undermine the best interests of students. "

The Letters of Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Ohio Sherrod Brown were widely considered as a warning to companies (commonly called online program managers, or OPS) They could face important critics. Scrutiny around the legality of his practices If a Democrat, Warren was among the main candidates for the nomination, he had to be elected president.

Another federal review is now underway, also apparently initiated by the main democratic senators, including Warren and Brown. But this, an analysis of the Government's Responsibility Office requested by Senator Patty Murray, the Top Democrat on the Senate Education Committee, by most accounts, takes a more impartial approach to the subject that cards and letters brown

Phil Hill, an education and analyst technology consultant who was interviewed by the Gao researchers, said his investigation "seems a real investigation, and that coincides with the nature of the Gao," which It is generally considered as life until its self-deflection goal of giving federal agencies to federal agencies "objective, non-supporter, based on information to help the government save money and work more efficiently."

hill and others who have spoken with the Gao officials said they were impressed by "the task they had done", the questions they made and their gratitude for the nuance.

In particular, said Gao analysts seemed to recognize that many types of companies and organizations play a role in helping AC Olleges creates and administers virtual academic programs, and that traditional program management companies in Line, 2U, Pearson Learning and the other companies that stand out for Warren-Brown's lyrics, are just a piece of a larger puzzle.

This analysis of 2019 by Holon IQ, a higher education and market intelligence data company, for example, showed a set of companies that grow and diversify that, in one way or another, are operating In this space: MOOC suppliers, such as Coursera, EDX and Futurelen; Cliple-line service companies, such as INSIGN and EXTENSENSENGINE; Large service companies, such as Kaplan and Zovio, which emerged when separated from universities for profit; And even more new suppliers such as Instride, Cintana and Outlier who, in one way or another, are creating associations with schools to offer several aspects of their educational programs.

Some of those companies, and some of their tactics - have drawn more scrutiny than others. The Warren and Brown's letters 2020 were designed to make fun of the information about some practices of online program management companies to provide funds facing schools to build programs in exchange for a (often large) income participation Student registration for a decade or more. Some advocates for students and analysts have questioned whether this practice is (or should be) legal under federal law.

As the two senators wrote last year, "it is also essential that policymakers determine the commercial practices of OPM. - Contracts specifically from OPM that require enrollment agreements, are Legal, proper use of federal dollars of student aid, and in the best interest of students ".

Trace Urdan, a managing director at Tyton Partners who was interviewed by the Gao, said they covered a lot of land, but they were particularly focused on "where and how the Department of Education" should be included in the space of Online learning, particularly at a time when many, if not most universities and universities. They have expanded their dependence on virtual instruction forms due to Covid-19.

Urdan also said that Gao's officials seemed to intent

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