NAICU Washington Update

Education Department to Form Negotiated Rulemaking Committee on Higher Ed Issues

August 08, 2018

The Education Department announced its intent to form a negotiated rulemaking committee to revise regulations related to the Title IV student financial aid programs. Although the Department had previously issued a regulatory agenda signaling this approach, its most recent pronouncement provides fresh details about the broad scope of the regulations it intends to revise.

As specified in the announcement, the negotiated rulemaking committee is expected to consider revisions to numerous regulations governing the Title IV programs, including, but not limited to, rules related to: accreditation; state authorization; state authorization of distance education; credit hour definition; the teach-out process; competency-based education; TEACH grants; barriers to innovation and competition; barriers to student completion, graduation, or employment; and eligibility of faith-based institutions to participate in the student aid programs.

The Department also intends to convene two subcommittees to make recommendations regarding direct assessment programs/competency-based education and the eligibility of faith-based entities to participate in the Title IV programs. 

According to the Department, such regulatory changes are intended to promote “greater access for students to high-quality, innovative programs.” In a wide-ranging interview, a departmental official stated that the rule changes are intended to reduce regulatory burden on accreditors, eliminate the definition of credit hour, reexamine online education, and address issues related to transfer of credit.

The Department is currently soliciting public comments and plans to hold several public hearings on its proposal. After the Department reviews the comments made at the hearings and in written submissions, the agency will announce the specific topics that will be the subject of negotiated rulemaking.