NAICU Washington Update

Education Department Holds Hearing on Deregulation

October 16, 2017

The Department of Education held a public hearing seeking feedback on higher education regulations that may be appropriate for repeal, replacement, or modification. Held in Washington, D.C., the hearing was the second meeting hosted by the Department as part of its larger deregulatory agenda.

The majority of comments at the hearing focused on the Department’s recent announcement that it was replacing two Title IX campus sexual assault guidance documents issued by the Obama Administration with new regulations established via the notice-and-comment rulemaking process.  Many of the speakers—a large number of whom were parents of students who have been accused of committing sexual assault—condemned the now-withdrawn guidance documents as unfair, although several women’s rights and survivors groups spoke in favor of maintaining the previous guidance.

Beyond Title IX, commenters focused on a wide array of additional topics. For example, several representatives of for-profit institutions criticized the existing gainful employment regulations—now being revised by the Department—while other groups, especially veterans’ organizations, advocated against repealing the gainful employment rules and other regulations that target fraud and abuse. Other commenters urged the Department to clarify Clery Act regulations and to modify or eliminate rules related to state authorization, the definition of credit hour, and return of Title IV funds, among other issues.

In addition to holding hearings on deregulation, the Department has established a Regulatory Reform Task Force, and solicited public comments on reducing unnecessary regulatory burdens in higher education. In response to the latter initiative, NAICU participated in the submission of community-wide comments endorsing the recommendations contained in the February 2015 report of the Task Force on the Federal Regulation of Higher Education.

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