On October 29, 2001, the U.S. Department of Commerce awarded a five-year Cooperative Agreement to EDUCAUSE to manage the .edu top-level domain. This agreement was subsequently extended through September 30, 2016. That agreement and subsequent amendments set forward policies for managing the domain, including policies governing what institutions are eligible for names in the .edu domain. In particular:
- All institutions holding names as of October 29, 2001 in the .edu domain will be allowed to keep them without regard to institutional eligibility requirements at this time.
- Institutions that do not already hold a name in the .edu domain are eligible to receive one if they are post-secondary institutions that are institutionally accredited, i.e., the entire institution and not just particular programs, by agencies on the U.S. Department of Education's list of Nationally Recognized Accrediting Agencies (see recognized accrediting bodies). These include both "Regional Institutional Accrediting Agencies" and "National Institutional and Specialized Accrediting Bodies." Note that institutional accreditation is required for .edu eligibility; program accreditation is not sufficient.
- Only a single name in the .edu domain will be assigned to any given institution.
View full text of the Cooperative Agreement and amendments at the NTIA web site.
On July 25, 2003, Amendment 6 to the Cooperative Agreement clarified and changed several important policies applicable to the .edu top-level domain:
- Names in the .edu top-level domain, regardless of when issued, may not be transferred in any way by the Registrant to any other entity.
- "Transferring" includes selling, trading, leasing, assigning, or any other means of transferring.
- Names in the .edu top-level domain that are not grandfathered must reasonably represent the name of the Registrant, may not be deployed to identify any organization other than the Registrant, and may not be "generic names."
- Registrants in violation of these policies will be notified by EDUCAUSE in writing. Violations not corrected in 45 days will result in removal of the registration of the .edu name.
- EDUCAUSE will conduct a six-month study of .edu names not in compliance with current policies and will make recommendations to the Department of Commerce with respect to bringing such registrations into compliance.
On October 21, 2004, EDUCAUSE and the Department of Commerce signed Amendment 9 to the Cooperative Agreement, updating the .edu eligibility requirements as follows:
Modify the .EDU eligibility requirements to comprise two
categories of organizations. Category 1 would be labeled
"Accredited Institutions"; Category 2 would be labeled
"System/District Offices". Category 1 would contain the current
eligibility criteria (postsecondary institutions accredited by
one of the agencies on the Department of Education list of
National Recognized Accrediting Agencies). Category 2 would
contain this text: "University system offices, state coordinating
offices or boards, community college district offices, or equivalent
entities located within the United States which have as their
principal activity the management and governance of a collection
of 'Accredited Institutions' that themselves meet the eligibility
criteria for .EDU. Each entity, in order to qualify under this
category, must be commissioned, established, or recognized by a
state, local or national government to perform this management
and governance activity."
On February 2, 2006, EDUCAUSE and the Department of Commerce signed Amendment 11 to the Cooperative Agreement. Amendment 11 authorizes EDUCAUSE to:
- Continue administration of the .edu Internet domain through September 30, 2011.
- Implement a procedure addressing violations of the prohibition against transferring .edu domains from one entity to another.
- Assess an annual $40.00 administration fee to recoup the expenses of managing the domain. Administrative contacts for each .edu domain will receive a series of communications about the fee starting in early May.
On July 27, 2006, EDUCAUSE and the Department of Commerce signed Amendment 13 to the Cooperative Agreement. Amendment 13 authorizes EDUCAUSE to accept checks as a valid form of payment for a domain name.
On August 27, 2009, EDUCAUSE and the Department of Commerce signed Amendment 20 to the Cooperative Agreement. Amendment 20 authorizes EDUCAUSE to implement DNS Security Extensions (DNSSEC) for .edu.
Policies affecting the .edu domain can be changed by mutual agreement of EDUCAUSE and the Department of Commerce. EDUCAUSE has created a Policy Forum for requesting and discussing policy changes. A Policy Board will review these discussions and recommend needed changes to the Department of Commerce.
Note: If you have other comments or questions related to policies for the .edu domain, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
More details on many of these policies and procedures can be found in the FAQ.