Universities in the United States will have to extend online education courses for the 2018-19 academic year to make up for a lack of space, a new federal regulation announced Thursday.
Under the federal Open Learning and Innovation Act, which took effect last month, online learning and education courses offered by the public universities must be available for full-time students, regardless of the cost.
But the Federal Register is scheduled to issue an official rule on how much students will pay for the courses in 2018-2019.
To accommodate the new regulations, some universities are offering online courses through a program called the Open Learning Fund, which provides up to $5,000 to students to take part in a limited number of online courses.
But the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says the Open Fund is a sham and has filed a complaint against several online learning institutions.
The FTC says the fee is meant to encourage students to pay full price for online learning, but is a way for some schools to raise money to pay for courses.
“The Open Fund does not have a clear definition of what constitutes ‘full price,’ and its purpose is to encourage certain courses to be offered to students, but not to pay a full price,” said the FTC complaint filed with the agency on Thursday.
“If a student is not allowed to use the Open Program, they are subject to being charged a portion of the full price of a course, whether they complete it or not.”
The complaint also accuses some online education providers of charging students to have their courses available for a limited period of time, even when they could easily access a full-price course through the Open Instruction Fund.
The FTC also alleges that some online learning providers are charging students for classes even when the courses can be completed without paying a fee, and are also charging students a fee for those classes that have not been completed.
The Open Instruction fund, which has been a favorite of some online providers, has attracted many of the same complaints as the Open Knowledge fund, the FTC said.
The Open Fund will also be subject to a federal antitrust enforcement proceeding.
The Free Basics program is the most popular online learning program for low-income students.
It provides students access to free basic and advanced courses at a fraction of the usual cost, as well as access to a variety of other services, including tutoring, online job placement services, and other support services.
Under this program, which started in 2014, students are required to pay $10 a month for the basic and $20 for the advanced courses, which range from online language and art classes to basic math and statistics courses.
Under the Open Basics program, students can choose to pay an additional $5 to access additional advanced courses.
The FCC’s complaint said that the Free Basics website offers only the basic classes, but that the “basic” and “advanced” courses can also be taken through other means, such as a video course or online learning portal.
It said that Free Basics offers courses at prices that “may not be adequate to support a full range of students” and that the courses are not necessarily offered at a reasonable cost to students.
“Although it may seem that Free Basic is a free service, in reality it is a program designed to enable consumers to obtain services at a price that may not be appropriate for all students,” the FTC’s complaint states.