The Department of Education has quietly announced that it will not enforce its very controversial state authorization rule, which required colleges to get government permission in every state where students enrolled in distance ed programs. The low key announcement with such a huge implications for colleges all over the country was probably due to the Obama administration wanting to downplay its embarrassment over the court’s recent rebuke of its gross regulatory overreach. The Obama ed department’s heavy handed push for state authorization threatened to cost colleges millions and throw the higher ed industry into turmoil. The only major beneficiaries of the fed action would have been government universities-no surprise there. Many small colleges faced closing or limiting their distance ed programs due to the high costs of meeting the new state authorization demands. But the biggest losers would have been distance ed students facing fewer low cost education options. For more on this major development, see today’s report in Inside Higher Ed: