Posted Date: July 31, 2018

Author:  Federal Student Aid

Subject: Negotiated Rulemaking, Intent to establish a negotiated rulemaking committee

Today, the Department published a notice in the Federal Register announcing its intent to establish a negotiated rulemaking committee to develop proposed regulations related to: (1) streamlining the Department’s accreditor recognition process; (2) clarifying the Department’s requirements of accreditors in performing their oversight role, (3) emphasizing the importance of institutional mission in evaluating its policies, programs and outcomes; (4) defining “job placement rates” to ensure consistency among those agencies that require institutions or programs to calculate and/or publish such rates; (5) clarifying and simplifying the requirements regarding state authorization of distance education and correspondence courses; (6) defining “regular and substantive interaction” as it relates to current educational delivery modalities; (7) defining the “credit hour;” (8) defining the reasonable length of a clock-hour program; (9) expanding the opportunity for an institution to contract with a non-accredited entity to provide 50 percent or more of an instructional program; (10) developing minimum standards for an approved teach-out plan; (11) eliminating barriers to innovation and competition in postsecondary education including for competency-based, self-paced and direct assessment programs; (12) clarifying requirements for TEACH Grant recipients and creating procedures for correcting wrongful grant-to-loan conversions; (13) ensuring continuing eligibility of faith-based entities to participate in title IV, HEA programs and preventing accreditors from taking negative action or denying accreditation simply due to an institution’s adherence to the principles of its faith-based mission.

We also intend to establish two subcommittees that will make recommendations to the committee to help it address: (1) regulatory changes required to enable expansion of direct assessment programs and competency-based education; and (2) regulatory protections needed to reinforce religious freedom and maintain the eligibility of faith-based entities to participate in the title IV, HEA programs.

The July 31, 2018 Federal Register notice also announced three public hearings at which interested parties may comment on the topics suggested by the Department and may suggest additional topics that should be considered for action by the negotiating committees. In addition, the notice announced that the Department will accept written comments on its suggested topics as well as on additional topics that should be considered for action by the negotiating committees.

The deadline for submitting comments is Wednesday, September 14, 2018.

Information on the public hearings and how to submit comments is provided in the Federal Register notice.

   

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