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Member Advocacy

Effective government relations require long-term relationships with both career staff and political appointees at the U.S. Department of Education (DOE), the Presidential Administration and with the Members and Staff of the U.S. Congress.

IEC staff has long-standing collegial relationships with key DOE staff in charge of international institutions’ participation in the US Federal Loan Programs. IEC also maintains close contacts with Members of Congress and their key policy staff members, especially those on the committees responsible for Federal Student Loans, including Veterans Affairs.

Through our organizational leadership and base in Washington, IEC works closely with these various entities to ensure the long term viability of non US schools’ participation in the US Federal Loans Program.


  • IEC maintains a close working relationship with senior officials in the U.S. Department of Education. A significant amount of our work is to act as a liaison between the Department and our member schools seeking solutions to the many problems and issues that non US schools face. Executive Director, Harrison Wadsworth, has been particularly successful in this outreach. He is widely respected within the Department and on Capitol Hill, providing member institutions with expert advice as well as access to senior Department of Education officials, government legislators and key Education staff members in both houses of Congress.
  • IEC hosts an annual conference in the United States or Europe. The annual conference has become an important event in the calendar of (foreign) school officials and the U.S. Department of Education. The conference provides a much needed forum to develop the discourse between school officials and the Department regulators. Attendees include financial aid administrators and school officials from institutions throughout the world. The conference consists of presentations involving both U.S. government personnel (in particular, from the U.S. Department of Education) and other speakers relevant to the administration and compliance issues surrounding the Direct Loan Program.
  • IEC regularly delivers talks and informational sessions on compliance and administration of U.S. loan programs at conferences in Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom as well as international conferences in the United States.


The law that created the U.S. Direct Loan Program is up for review and renewal. IEC has already weighed in with the U.S. Congress and with senior officials at the Department of Education to advocate for IEC member priorities. It will continue to do so until the process is complete and new regulations are written.

  • In General: calling for relief from the excessive regulatory burden on foreign institutions that must devote many resources on complying with US regulations for the benefit of relatively few eligible students.
  • IEC testified in person and submitted written comments to the Department of Education calling for regulatory changes to address the issues below.
  • Written Arrangements: requesting a portion of a student's program of study be allowed at an ineligible foreign school, allowing for valuable opportunities such as exchanges despite host schools choosing not to participate in the US loan program. 
  • US GAAP Financial Statements: building on previous work by advocating for recognition of generally accepted international auditing standards by the US Department of Education for all institutions.
  • Medical School requirements: requesting a major modification or elimination of the passage rate requirement for foreign medical schools with relatively small numbers of American students and related reforms to reduce regulatory burdens.
  • Nursing schools: advocating for a technical correction to US law needed to re-instate nursing schools forced out of the US loan programs.
  • Distance education: requesting a correction to the law to permit a portion of a student's academic program to be taught via distance ed.
  • Gainful employment: requesting an exemption for qualified foreign schools from gainful employment reporting requirements.
  • Financial management rules: IEC is currently actively working to exempt international institutions from proposed strict USDOE restrictions on their relationships with banks and other financial institutions.
  • We are constantly working with the Department of Education's various offices on behalf of IEC members, acting as a go-between and helping resolve problems in complying with regulations as they arise.



    • Helped them remain or become eligible to participate in the US Direct Loan Program by providing information on US Department of Education (USDOE) regulations and numerous other requirements.
    • Worked constantly with the USDOE on institutional eligibility and regulatory compliance, acting as a communications bridge and advocate for IEC members.
    • Convinced the USDOE to exempt foreign institution form list of regulations that would have led to US government oversight of the relationships universities have with their banks. Thanks to the IEC's detailed comments in person and in writing, these "cash management" regulations of July 2016 apply only to US institutions. 
    • Convinced the USDOE to greatly reduce the burdensome and nonsensical long list of "consumer disclosures" required to be created and publicly posted. Instead, institutions only need to post information that is actually useful to students' for their studies and management of their finances.
    • Progressed a longstanding IEC priority: to allow students receiving U.S. loans to study part of their program in the United States or at institutions outside the U.S. that are not themselves participating in the U.S. Direct Loan Program. Regulations proposed by the USDOE will modify the "written arrangements" in order to allow students to take up to 25 percent of their program of study at such institutions without losing eligibility for Direct Loans. The change is expected by early 2020.
    • Convinced the US Congress to change the law in order to:
      • Permit Veterinary Schools to regain eligibility to the Direct Loan Program. Congress, at IEC's request, passed a special law to do this.
      • Ease the requirement that colleges prepare audited financial statements according to US GAAP (accounting principles from those with US$500,000 or more in annual loan volume to those with at least $3 million. (Note: This requirement was actually removed altogether from the law but the Department of Education, on its own authority, partially re-instated it.
      • Remove unworkable requirements that campuses report crimes in their vicinity on their websites.
      • Ensured that Congress wrote a special section for foreign institutions to participate in the U.S. Direct Loan Program when it repealed the FFEL Program in 2010 and worked with USDOE on implementation.
      • Intervened with the USDOE and other agencies to restore Direct Loan eligibility to specialty arts-oriented institutions in the United Kingdom.
      • Participated in formal negotiating sessions at USDOE to represent IEC members. IEC successfully argued against USDOE setting detailed admissions standards for international universities and medical schools, for example.
    • Arranged for Annual Conferences in Washington, DC and Europe where policy information and training is provided. The U.S. Government has participated significantly in providing training, especially in the Washington conferences.
    • Made detailed recommendations to improve the Foreign School Handbook, most of which were incorporated in the second update of the Handbook.
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Save the Date!
The 2014 Annual IEC Conference will be held on Monday, 30 June at the London University of the Arts. More details to come!

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