NAICU Washington Update

New Department Neg-reg Hearings to Include Regs Rejected by Courts

May 02, 2013

The Department of Education announced it will convene negotiated rulemaking sessions on a variety of topics in its continuing, multiple-year review and rewrite of program integrity regulations. The Department’s April 16, 2013, Federal Register announcement adds new topics to the list of those that had been proposed in May 2012 for negotiated rulemaking, including provisions relating to gainful employment and state authorization of institutions of higher education that were recently overturned by the courts. (See earlier Washington Update stories on gainful employment and state authorization.) 

Topics for Review 

In May 2012, the Department held hearings to consider student use of debit cards for disbursing Title IV funds and the streamlining of the campus-based student aid programs as areas for regulation. (Transcripts of those hearings are here and here.) Although the Department said it anticipated post-hearing negotiated rulemaking sessions would begin in September 2012, none were held, and no official explanation for the delay was ever given. Now, those issues considered in the May 2012 hearings will become part of an expanded 2013 negotiated rulemaking that will include the following new topics:

  • Cash management of Title IV funds
  • State authorization for distance education programs
  • State authorization for foreign locations of institutions located in a state
  • Clock to credit hour conversion
  • Gainful employment
  • New campus safety and security reporting requirements under the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013
  • Definition of “adverse credit” for PLUS borrowers

Public Hearing Dates Set

Three public hearings have been scheduled this month to consider the proposed topics and others that may be offered by the public:

  • May 21, at the U.S. Department of Education, 1990 K Street, NW, Eighth Floor Conference Center, Washington, D.C. 20006
  • May 23, at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs, Cowles Auditorium, 301 19th Avenue S, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455
  • May 30, at the University of California, San Francisco, UC Hall, Toland Hall Auditorium (Room U142), 533 Parnassus Avenue, San Francisco, California 94143

All are scheduled for 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., local time. Interested parties wishing to present comments must register through an e-mail to that includes the name of the presenter and a general timeframe for when the presenter would like to speak. Written comments will be accepted through May 30, 2013. Further information, including directions to the sites, is available here and in the April 16 Federal Register notice linked above.

The Department has not yet announced dates for the negotiated rulemaking or issued a call for neg-reg committee participants. However, in the April 16 Federal Register notice, the Department said it intends to select participants that represent the interests significantly affected by the proposed regulations, and reflect the diversity among program participants. It also announced that it intends to conduct further rulemakings over the next several years “to address more directly access to, and the affordability of, higher education and possible steps to improve the quality of higher education in the United States and to better encourage students to complete their education.”

NAICU plans to submit comments at the hearings.

House Members Oppose Gainful Employment, State Authorization Regs

Shortly after the Department announcement, several House members -- including Reps. John Kline (R-Minn.), chair of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, and Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), Chair of the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training -- wrote to the Department urging it to abandon the widely-panned gainful employment and state authorization regulations. The April 18 letter, also signed by Reps. Robert Andrews (D-N.J.), Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.), and Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.), urged Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to instead work with Congress to address program integrity issues as part of the Higher Education Act reauthorization.

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