NAICU Washington Update

Department Acts on Higher Education Opportunity Act

January 16, 2009

On December 31 the Department of Education released the much-anticipated "Dear Colleague Letter" and the announcement of the structure and planned schedule for negotiated rule-making of the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) passed last August. The 220-page document is essentially a "common English" summary of the law itself. It also provides a detailed table of contents which is helpful in locating the many new provisions. Additionally, it coordinates the section references in HEOA with the Higher Education Act (HEA) which the HEOA modified.

The department's notice on negotiating rule-making asked for nominations for five teams that will cover loans, grants, accreditation, and other more general areas. NAICU has nominated negotiators and alternates for three of the teams - School-based Loan Issues (II), Accreditation (III), and General and Non-Loan Programmatic Issues (V). Nominations must be received by January 23.

The teams are expected to begin meeting as early as February, depending on the wishes of the new administration, and meet for three sessions of approximately three days at roughly monthly intervals. Each team will cover a number of sub-topics, and may need expert input on some unique issues. The department's goal is to complete the negotiations by the end of spring, in order to publish the final regulations by November 1, 2009 - the statutory deadline for publishing student financial assistance final regulations.

Links to the actual notices are on NAICU's HEA 101 Web site.

MORE News from NAICU