Publication Date: May 1, 2012

Posted Date: May 1, 2012

Subject: Upcoming Negotiated Rulemaking

FR Type: Notice

[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 84 (Tuesday, May 1, 2012)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 25658-25660]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office []
[FR Doc No: 2012-10488]

34 CFR Chapter VI
[Docket ID ED-2012-OPE-0008]
Negotiated Rulemaking Committee; Public Hearings
AGENCY: Office of Postsecondary Education, Department of Education.
ACTION: Intent to establish negotiated rulemaking committee.
SUMMARY: We announce our intention to establish a negotiated rulemaking 
committee to prepare proposed regulations for the Federal Student Aid 
Programs authorized by the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended 
(HEA). The committee will include representatives of organizations or 
groups with interests that are significantly affected by the subject 
matter of the proposed regulations. We also announce two public 
hearings at which interested parties may suggest additional issues that 
should be considered for action by the negotiating committee. In 
addition, for anyone unable to attend a public hearing, we announce 
that the Department will accept written comments.
DATES: The dates, times, and locations of the public hearings are 
listed under the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this notice. We 
must receive written comments suggesting issues that should be 
considered for action by the negotiating committee on or before May 31, 
ADDRESSES: Submit your comments through the Federal eRulemaking Portal 
or via postal mail, commercial delivery, or hand delivery. We will not 
accept comments by fax or by email. To ensure that we do not receive 
duplicate copies, please submit your comments only once. In addition, 
please include the Docket ID at the top of your comments.
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to to 
submit your comments electronically. Information on using, including instructions for accessing agency documents, 
submitting comments, and viewing the docket is available on the site 
under "How to Use"
     Postal Mail, Commercial Delivery, or Hand Delivery: If you 
mail or deliver your comments about these proposed regulations, address 
them to Wendy Macias, U.S. Department of Education, 1990 K Street NW., 
Room 8017, Washington, DC 20006.
    Privacy Note: The Department's policy is to make all comments 
received from members of the public available for public viewing in 
their entirety on the Federal eRulemaking Portal at Therefore, commenters should be careful to 
include in their comments only information that they wish to make 
publicly available.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For information about the public 
hearings, go to or contact: Wendy Macias, U.S. Department of Education, 
1990 K Street NW., Room 8017, Washington, DC 20006. Telephone: (202) 
502-7526. Email:
    For information about negotiated rulemaking in general, see The 
Negotiated Rulemaking Process for Title IV Regulations, Frequently 
Asked Questions at or contact: Wendy Macias, U.S. 
Department of Education, 1990 K Street NW., Room 8017, Washington, DC 
20006. Telephone: (202) 502-7526. Email:
    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) or text 
telephone (TTY), call the Federal Relay Service (FRS), toll free, at 1-
    Individuals with disabilities can obtain this document in an 
accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, audiotape, or compact 
disc) by contacting Wendy Macias, U.S. Department of Education, 1990 K 
Street NW., Room 8017, Washington, DC 20006. Telephone: (202) 502-7526. 
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Section 492 of the HEA requires that, before 
publishing any proposed regulations to implement programs authorized 
under Title IV of the HEA, the Secretary obtain public involvement in 
the development of the proposed regulations. After obtaining advice and 
recommendations from the public, the Secretary conducts negotiated 
rulemaking to develop the proposed regulations. We announce our intent 
to develop proposed Title IV regulations by following the negotiated 
rulemaking procedures in section 492 of the HEA.
    We intend to select participants for the negotiated rulemaking 
committee from nominees of the organizations and groups that represent 
the interests significantly affected by the proposed regulations. To 
the extent possible, we will select, from the nominees, individual 
negotiators who reflect the diversity among program participants, in 
accordance with section 492(b)(1) of the HEA.
Regulatory Issues
    We intend to convene a committee to develop proposed regulations 
designed to prevent fraud and otherwise ensure proper use of Title IV, 
HEA program funds, especially within the context of current 
technologies. In particular, we intend to propose regulations to 
address the use of debit cards and other banking mechanisms for 
disbursing Federal Student Aid funds. In addition, we intend to propose 
regulations to
[[Page 25659]]
improve and streamline the campus-based Federal Student Aid programs.
    On September 26, 2011, the Department's Office of Inspector General 
issued an Investigative Program Advisory Report alerting the Department 
to the increasingly common discovery of groups of individuals who 
conspire to defraud the Title IV, HEA programs through distance 
education programs (the report is available at In response to the report, on October 20, 2011, the Department issued Dear Colleague 
Letter GEN-11-17 In response to the report, on October 20, 2011, the Department issued Dear Colleague 
Letter GEN-11-17 available at recommending actions that institutions can take to detect 
and prevent fraud in distance education programs and convened a 
Department-wide task force on the subject. The Department is now 
considering suggestions for regulatory changes to further help 
institutions combat fraud and protect students and taxpayers from 
fraudulent activity.
    In addition, we are considering regulatory changes related to the 
disbursement of Title IV, HEA program funds, particularly electronic 
funds transfers (EFTs) made directly to a student's bank account and 
available to the student via debit or another bank-provided card. We 
are interested in how or whether the use of EFTs, in lieu of checks, 
could provide one means to help prevent fraud or identify those 
involved in fraud rings. We are also interested in whether students 
should have a greater role in deciding to accept debit cards or other 
banking services provided through an institutionally-controlled process 
or contracted provider, particularly in view of the costs and fees 
associated with the use of those cards and services. We are requesting 
public input on these areas and others that the public believes should 
be addressed through regulations to ensure the proper use of Title IV, 
HEA program funds.
    Finally, pursuant to Executive Order 13563, the Department issued 
its final “Plan for Retrospective Analysis of Existing Regulations'' 
in August 2011 (the plan is available at The Department's plan creates a defined policy, method, and schedule for identifying significant 
regulations, as determined under Executive Order 12866, that may be 
outmoded, ineffective, insufficient, or excessively burdensome, as well 
as regulations that can be modified, streamlined, expanded, or repealed 
to be more effective and efficient, achieve better outcomes for 
students, and be easy to understand. As part of the retrospective 
analysis of existing regulations, the Department identified the need to 
review the regulations in 34 CFR parts 673, 674, 675, and 676 governing 
the campus-based Federal Student Aid programs (i.e., the Federal 
Perkins Loan, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, and 
Federal Work-Study programs). The Department is considering whether to 
update and streamline the regulations governing these programs. We will 
consider changes that improve the administration and efficiency of 
these programs while reducing burden on regulated parties.
    After a complete review of the public comments presented at the 
public hearings and in the written submissions, we will publish a 
document (or documents) announcing the specific subject areas for which 
we intend to establish a negotiated rulemaking committee, and a request 
for nominations for individual negotiators for the committee who 
represent the interests significantly affected by the proposed 
Public Hearings
    We will hold two public hearings for interested parties to discuss 
the rulemaking agenda. The public hearings will be held on:
     May 23, 2012, at South Mountain Community College, 7050 
South 24th Street, Student Union Building, Room 100-ABC, Phoenix, AZ 
     May 31, 2012, at the U.S. Department of Education, 1990 K 
Street NW., 8th Floor Conference Center, Washington, DC 20006.
    The public hearings will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., local 
time. Further information on the public hearing sites, including 
directions, is available at
    Individuals desiring to present comments at the public hearings 
must register by sending an email to The email 
should include the name of the presenter along with a general timeframe 
during which the individual would like to speak (for example, a 
presenter could indicate morning or afternoon, or before 11:00 a.m. or 
after 3:00 p.m.). We will attempt to accommodate each speaker's 
preference but, if we are unable to do so, we will make the 
determination on a first-come first-served basis (based on the time and 
date the email was received). It is likely that each participant will 
be limited to five minutes. The Department will notify registrants 
indicating the specific location and time slot reserved for them. An 
individual may make only one presentation at the public hearings. If we 
receive more registrations than we are able to accommodate, the 
Department reserves the right to reject the registration of an entity 
or individual that is affiliated with an entity or individual that is 
already scheduled to present comments, and to select among registrants 
to ensure that a broad range of entities and individuals is allowed to 
present. We will accept walk-in registrations for any remaining time 
slots on a first-come first-served basis beginning at 8:30 a.m. on the 
day of the public hearing at the Department's on-site registration 
    Speakers may also submit written comments. In addition, for anyone 
who does not present at a public hearing, the Department will accept 
written comments through May 31, 2012. (See the ADDRESSES sections of 
this notice for submission information.)
Schedule for Negotiations
    We anticipate that any committee established after the public 
hearings will begin negotiations in September 2012, with the committee 
meeting for up to three sessions of approximately three days each at 
roughly monthly intervals. The committee will meet in the Washington, 
DC area. The dates and locations of these meetings will be published in 
a subsequent document in the Federal Register, and will be posted on 
the Department's Web site at:
    Electronic Access to This Document: The official version of this 
document is the document published in the Federal Register. Free 
Internet access to the official edition of the Federal Register and the 
Code of Federal Regulations is available via the Federal Digital System 
at: At this site you can view this document, as well 
as all other documents of this Department published in the Federal 
Register, in text or Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF). To use PDF 
you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free at the 
site. You may also access documents of the Department published in the 
Federal Register by using the article search feature at: Specifically, through the advanced search 
feature at this site, you can limit your search to documents published 
by the Department.
    Program Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1098a.
[[Page 25660]]
    Dated: April 26, 2012.
David A. Bergeron,
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, Planning, and Innovation, 
delegated the authority to perform the functions and duties of the 
Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education.
[FR Doc. 2012-10488 Filed 4-30-12; 8:45 am]


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