Commission Staff Attend USDE Public Comment Session

The U.S. Department Education (USDE) held the first of three public sessions on Sept. 6, 2018, in advance of establishing a negotiated rulemaking committee that will propose regulations for Federal Student Aid programs authorized under title IV of the Higher Education Act. Attending the session in Washington, DC, on behalf of the Commission were Dr. Heather Perfetti, Senior Vice President for Legal Affairs and Chief of Staff, Ms. Mary Beth Kait, Senior Director for Accreditation Policy, and Mr. Brian Kirschner, Director for Communications and Public Relations.

U.S. Congressman Mark TaKano (D-CA) made remarks at the USDE public session concerning deregulation in favor of for-profit institutions.

U.S. Congressman Mark TaKano (D-CA) made remarks at the USDE public session concerning deregulation in favor of for-profit institutions.

USDE is proposing to address numerous topics including the requirements for accrediting agencies in their oversight of member institutions; state authorization requirements related to programs offered through distance education; the definition of the term “credit hour;” the roles and responsibilities of institutions and accrediting agencies in the teach-out process; the barriers to innovation and competition in postsecondary education; and the simplification and clarification of grant-to-loan conversions to improve outcomes, to name a few.

A theme for many of the nearly 40 individuals who spoke focused on asking the USDE to consider reducing the number of topics the committee would consider as well as concerns over weakening the regulations. Individuals represented various advocacy groups, policy organizations, higher education institutions, and members of the public. The Commission did not present comments for the record.

The USDE anticipates establishing the committee in January of 2019, and it will negotiate over three sessions of three days each at roughly four- to eight-week intervals.

To see a full description of topics to be negotiated and the USDE process, click here.