It will be a very busy year for the U.S. Department of Education (Department). Already engaged in a controversial negotiated rulemaking on “gainful employment,” and having announced a rulemaking on the implementation of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013, the Department published a notice in the Federal Register of its Intention To Establish a negotiated rulemaking committee to discuss topics for “Program Integrity and Improvement.” The committee meetings will be held at the Department’s offices at 1990 K Street NW., Eighth Floor Conference Center, Washington, DC 20006. The committee will meet from 9am -5 pm on the following days:
- Session 1: February 19-21, 2014
- Session 2: March 26-28, 2014
- Session 3: April 23-25, 2014
The “Program Integrity and Improvement” rulemaking will likely focus on six topics:
- Cash management of funds provided under the title IV Federal Student Aid programs, including the use of debit cards and the handling of title IV credit balances.
- State authorization for programs offered through distance education or correspondence education.
- State authorization for foreign locations of institutions located in a State.
- Clock to credit hour conversion.
- The definition of “adverse credit” for borrowers in the Federal Direct PLUS Loan Program.
- The application of the repeat coursework provisions to graduate and undergraduate programs.
The Department is seeking nominations for this committee. All nominations should be received by December 20, 2013. The nominees should fill one of the following constituencies that “are significantly affected by the topics proposed for negotiations”:
- Legal assistance organizations that represent students.
- Consumer advocacy organizations.
- State higher education executive officers.
- State attorneys general and other appropriate State officials.
- Business and industry.
- Institutions of higher education eligible to receive Federal assistance under title III, Parts A, B, and F, and title V of the HEA, which include Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic-Serving Institutions, American Indian Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian-Serving Institutions, Predominantly Black Institutions, and other institutions with a substantial enrollment of needy students as defined in title III of the HEA.
- Two-year public institutions of higher education.
- Four-year public institutions of higher education.
- Private, non-profit institutions of higher education.
- Private, for-profit institutions of higher education.
- Regional accrediting agencies.
- National accrediting agencies.
- Specialized accrediting agencies.
- Financial aid administrators at postsecondary institutions.
- Business officers and bursars at postsecondary institutions.
- Admissions officers at postsecondary institutions.
- Institutional third-party servicers who perform functions related to the title IV Federal Student Aid programs (including collection agencies).
- State approval agencies.
- Lenders, community banks, and credit unions.