NAICU Washington Update

Education Department Sets Broad-Ranging Negotiated Rulemaking Session for Early 2014

November 26, 2013

An array of student aid related topics is the focus of an Education Department Program Improvement and Integrity negotiated rulemaking committee planned for February 2014, according to a notice in the Federal Register on November 20.

The announcement listed a tentative group of topics, including: 

  • State authorization of distance education programs;
  • State authorization for foreign locations of U.S. institutions;
  • Cash management of Title IV fund, including the use of debit cards;
  • Definition of “adverse credit” for PLUS Loan borrowers;
  • Application of repeat coursework provisions;
  • Clock to credit hour conversion.  

In hearings held earlier this year regarding these proposed rulemaking topics, NAICU presented testimony urging the Department not to pursue new regulations relating to state authorization as a means to either address distance education issues or regulate the foreign locations of U.S. institutions via the states.   Previous efforts to regulate state authorization activities created massive confusion, and new federal regulations are unlikely to be any more successful.  In addition, regulatory action seems premature, given the substantial work now underway to develop a state authorization reciprocity agreement (SARA).  (Additional background information regarding the state authorization issue may be found in a NAICU background paper.)

The notice indicates that topics may be added or removed prior to the start of the negotiation process.  Nominations will be accepted until December 30, and the first of three negotiation sessions will begin on February 19.

As reported in the October 7 edition of Washington Update, the Department also has established a negotiated rulemaking committee to deal with the changes made by the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA) to the campus safety and security reporting requirements of the Higher Education Act.  In addition to considering the changes made by VAWA, negotiators may consider “additional changes to update the existing campus safety and security reporting requirements.”  NAICU’s nominee to the panel, Dickinson College (PA) General Counsel Dana Scaduto, has been selected to serve as a negotiator.  The first session will begin on January 13.


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