Community Colleges to Get “.Edu” Extensions Under New Domain Administration in 2001

Community Colleges to Get “.Edu” Extensions Under New Domain Administration in 2001

The federal agency that oversees the administration of Internet domain names says it expects to hand over control of the “.edu” domain extension to a new subcontractor as early as spring 2001. The change of subcontractors would make it possible for community colleges to be granted the .edu extension for Internet addresses, according to a U.S. Commerce Department official.
 “We have to work out the arrangements,” says Arthur Brodsky, a spokesman for the U.S. Commerce Department’s
National Telecommunications and
Information Administration.
Brodsky acknowledges that the Educause organization, the largest association of higher education information technology professionals in the United States, is a leading candidate to become the administrative body for granting .edu extensions to higher education institutions. Currently, Network Solutions, Inc., an information technology firm in Herndon, Va., has responsibility for registering .edu domain names.
Community college officials support the move to put Educause in control of the .edu domain extension because they believe it will smooth the way for granting their institutions the right to use .edu in
Internet addresses, a designation that has been prohibited for two-year schools since 1993. Brodsky says negotiations with Educause or any other organization that takes over the .edu extension will incorporate policy changes that will permit it to be awarded to community colleges.
“We’re very sensitive to their frustrations,” Brodsky says of
community colleges and advocacy groups that have pushed for the domain name policy changes.
Brodsky says the change from Network Solutions to another
administrator could happen despite the fact that the information technology firm has a contract that doesn’t end until the end of  2001. “We’d work it out [with Network Solutions],” Brodsky says.
Dr. George Boggs, president of the American Association of
Community Colleges (AACC), says he is aware that Educause would be designated by the U.S. Commerce Department as the administrating
organization for the .edu domain, a move supported by the Washington, D.C.-based association representing the nation’s 1,150 community
colleges.
“We’re still asking our institutions to make their feelings known. We want them to write the Commerce department and send copies of their letters to their congressional representatives,” Boggs says.
For community colleges, the domain extension has been an issue of status and pride for two-year schools, according to officials.
“It’s as if we’re not being recognized as a legitimate part of higher education,” Boggs says.
Over the past few months, AACC has stepped up its longtime campaign by community colleges for access to the .edu extension. Since 1993, community colleges have been restricted to a lengthy domain extension that includes abbreviations for the community college, the state of its location, and the United States.
For example, Middlesex Community College in Massachusetts has <www.middlesex.cc.ma.us> as its current Internet address. Access to the .edu extension might likely result in shortening the address to <www.middlesex.edu> for the Middlesex Community College.
In 1993, Jon Postel, one of the Internet’s founders, got a rule adopted that restricted the .edu extension to schools granting at a minimum four-year baccalaureate degrees. About 200 community colleges managed to secure the .edu extension either prior to the rule or through special exemptions.
Mark Luker, an Educause vice president, says the information technology association has been in discussions with commerce department officials for the past two years in an effort to become the administrator of the .edu domain extension. Educause supports the community colleges’ push to have .edu extensions, according to Luker.
 “I haven’t heard of anyone who’s against that,” Luker says.
Officials at the Des Moines Area Community College system based in Ankeny, Iowa, unsuccessfully lobbied for the .edu earlier this year, pointing out to the current administrator that it had a cooperative agreement with the University of Northern Iowa linking two-year community college students into four-year programs.
“[Network Solutions] didn’t buy our argument,” says Don Honnold, the director of marketing and public relations for the Des Moines Area Community College campuses.
Honnold says his institution wants the .edu extension partially to simplify the school’s Internet address, which is <www.dmacc.cc.ia.us>.
“There’s a lot of value to having the .edu domain. .Edu clearly
identifies you as a serious post-secondary institution,” Honnold says. 



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