From time to time, the Department of Education receives inquiries about the role and membership of its federal advisory committees. Below is a brief summary of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) of 1972 as amended and other basic information, including contacts for further information about the advisory committees operating in the U.S. Department of Education.
Federal Advisory Committee Act
Through the enactment of FACA, the U. S. Congress formally recognized the merits of seeking the advice and assistance of our nation's citizens. Advisory committees are to:
- Provide advice that is relevant, objective, and open to the public;
- Act promptly to complete their work; and
- Comply with reasonable cost controls and recordkeeping requirements.
Advisory committees may be established in one of three ways:
- By law -- statutory;
- By executive order of the President; and
- By agency authority.
There are approximately 1,000 advisory committees with more than 40,000 members government-wide. The General Services Administration/Committee Management Secretariat (GSA/CMS) is responsible for monitoring advisory committee activities government-wide and maintains a FACA database on the Worldwide Web from which advisory committee information may be obtained via the Internet.
Federal advisory committee members are drawn from various occupational and industry groups and geographical regions of the United States and its territories. FACA requires that committee memberships be fairly balanced in terms of the points of view represented and the functions to be performed. Members of specific committees often have both the expertise and professional skills that parallel the program responsibilities of their sponsoring agencies. In some instances, membership requirements are mandated in the legislation.
Nominations and Appointment of Committee Members
Federal agency officials, members of Congress, the general public, professional societies, or current and former committee members may nominate potential candidates for membership. Selection of committee members is made based on the FACA's requirements and the potential member's background and qualifications, and the specific requirements of the individual committees as directed in their method of establishment. Appointment authority is also mandated in the establishment format. For example, the President normally appoints members when a committee is established by executive order. Agency heads generally appoint committees mandated by statute or by agency authority.
The Committee serves as an independent source of advice and counsel to Congress and the Secretary of Education on student financial aid policy. Membership includes 11 individuals: 3 by the Senate, 3 by the House of Representatives, and 5 by the Secretary on the basis of technical qualifications, professional standing, and knowledge about higher education and student aid administration.
Contact: Dr. William J. Goggin, Executive Director
The Commission chooses annually, in accordance with such standards and procedures as it may prescribe and on the basis of its independent judgement, up to 141 Presidential Scholars who are awarded the Presidential Scholar Medallion. Included are one boy and one girl from each State, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and from families of U.S. citizens in U.S. territories or living abroad; 15 at large from the jurisdictions named above; and 20 from the jurisdictions named above in the fields of visual and performing arts or creative writing. The President appoints members from time to time from among appropriately qualified citizens of the United States. The President selects a Chair.
Contact: Simone Olson-Acting Executive Director (202) 205-8719
The function of this committee is to study and make recommendations for assuring effective coordination of Federal programs, policies, and administrative practices affecting education. The membership includes the Secretary of Education, or his designee, who chairs the Committee, and senior policy making officials from those Federal agencies, commissions, and boards that the President may find appropriate. OMB, the Council of Economic Advisors, the Office of Science and Technology policy and the Domestic Policy Staff designate a staff member to attend the Committee's meetings. The Secretary recommends member agencies to the President.
Contact: Anthony Fowler, Acting Executive Director (202) 401-3673
The Board provides advice and counsel to the Secretary and the designated bonding authority as to the most effective and efficient means of implementing construction financing on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The Board advises Congress regarding progress made in implementing programs. The Board includes 9 members appointed by the Secretary including: 3 president representatives of private and 2 president representatives of public Historically Black Colleges and Universities, president of United Negro College Fund, president of NAFEO, executive director of The White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and Secretary's designee.
Contact: Don E. Watson (202) 219-7037
This Board establishes general policies for the graduate fellows program and oversees its operation; selects each year the fields in which fellowships are to be awarded; determines the number of fellowships each year to be awarded in each designated field; and appoints distinguished panels in each field for the purpose of selecting the fellows. Nine members are appointed by the Secretary of Education who are representative of both public and private institutions of higher education especially qualified to serve on the Board. In making appointments, the Secretary gives due consideration to the appointment of individuals who are highly respected in the academic community. The Secretary shall assure that individuals appointed to the Board are broadly representative of a range of disciplines in graduate education in arts, humanities, and social sciences. One member must be an enrolled student in an institution of higher education at the time of appointment. Members serve for four year terms.
Contact: Katie Blanding, Executive Director, (202) 219-7049
The Committee advises the Secretary of Education on matters related to accreditation and to the eligibility and certification process for institutions of higher education. The committee includes 18 members appointed by the Secretary, the Senate, and the House of Representatives who are knowledgeable concerning postsecondary education and training.
Contact: Carol Griffiths, Executive Director, (202) 219-7035
The Council advises the Secretary and Congress on the funding and administration of any program, with respect to which the Secretary has jurisdiction and that includes Indian children or adults or that may benefit Indian children or adults. The council makes recommendations to the Secretary for the position of Director of Indian Education. The council includes 15 members appointed by the President and composed of Indians and Alaska Natives selected from lists furnished by Indian tribes and organizations.
Contact: Office of Indian Education (202) 401-3641
The National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB) is an independent, bipartisan group whose members include governors, state legislators, local and state school officials, educators, business representatives, and members of the general public. Congress created the 26-member Governing Board in 1988 to set policy for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)-commonly known as the "The Nation's Report Card."
The "Nation's Report Card" as NAEP is often called, is the only nationally representative and continuing assessment of what American students know and can do in various academic subjects. Since 1969, NAEP surveys have been conducted periodically on a national sample basis in reading, mathematics, science, writing, and other subjects. State-by-state assessments-also on a representative sample basis-began in 1990. By making available objective information on academic performance, NAEP is an important part of our nation's evaluation of the condition and progress of education. NAEP is administered by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) of the U.S. Department of Education. The Secretary appoints the Chairman. Members serve staggered 4-year terms with a 2-year limitation.
Contact: Cornelia Orr-Executive Director- (202) 357-6943
The Board is established as a part of the Institute of Education Sciences, (IES). The Board shall function as a "board of directors" for the Institute by approving or disapproving the Institute's priorities as proposed by the Director of the Institute, and ensuring that the priorities of the Institute and the National Education Centers are consistent with the mission of the Institute. Members are appointed by the President and with the consent of the Senate.
Contact: Monica Herk, Executive Director (202) 208-3491
The Board advises the Secretary, the Director of the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE), and the Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education on priorities for the improvement of postsecondary education and for the evaluation, dissemination, and adaptation of demonstrated improvements in postsecondary educational practice. The Board includes 15 members appointed by the Secretary including: at least 8 public-interest representatives, including a student, and not more than 7 educational representatives.
Contact: Ralph Hines, FIPSE Director, (202) 502-7618
The function of this committee is to evaluate the standards of accreditation applied to applicant foreign medical schools and determine the comparability of those standards to standards for accreditation applied to U.S. medical schools. Membership consists of experts in medical education and accreditation, appointed by the Secretary, but the number is not established by statute. Currently the committee has 10 members. One member must be an enrolled student at an institution of higher education at the time of appointment. Members serve for 3-year terms with a 9-year limitation.
Contact: Carol Griffiths, Executive Director, (202) 219-7035
The Board advises and makes recommendations to the Interagency Group, composed of the Secretaries of Education, Labor, and Health and Human Services which administers the National Institute for Literacy. The Interagency Group considers the Board's recommendations in planning the goals of the Institute. The Board also consults with the Institute on awarding fellowships and internships. The board members are 10 individuals appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate including: literacy providers, organizations, students, businesses, research experts, state and local governments, and organized labor.
Contact: NIFL Office (202) 233-2025
The Council's purpose is to advise the Department on the design and implementation of state standards, assessments and accountability systems. The Council will provide guidance to help the Department ensure that the assessment and accountability components of state accountability systems are based on sound technical decisions. The Council consists of no more than 16 members, who are experts in assessment and accountability appointed by the Secretary. They include academicians, researchers, and national, state, and local policymakers; at least one-third must have experience working in or with state educational agencies or local educational agencies. Members serve terms of no more than three years.
Contact: David Harmon-Designated Federal Official (202) 205-3554
The Board issues an Annual Federal Plan for Assistance to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to the President on participation by HBCUs in federally-sponsored programs; provides advice to the Secretary of Education and makes recommendations in reports to the President on how to increase the private sector role in strengthening HBCUs, with particular emphasis on enhancing institutional infrastructure and facilitating planning, development, and the use of new technologies to ensure the goal of long-term viability and enhancement of these institutions. Members are appointed by the President and include representatives of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, other institutions of higher education, business and financial institutions, private foundations, and secondary education.
Contact: John Wilson-Executive Director (202) 205-4836
Submission of Nominations
Nominations should be submitted to the appointing official (Presidential, Secretarial or Congressional), the Committee Management Officer, or the contact person for the committee six months in advance of a scheduled vacancy.
U.S. Department of Education White House Liaison/Committee Management Office Contact InformationWhite House Liaison/Committee Management Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW LBJ/Room 7C109
Washington, DC 20202
Phone: (202) 401-3677
Fax: (202) 205-0723
For additional information on advisory committees, including budget, charter, members, accomplishments, meetings, vacancies, and reports, click on to the GSA FACA Database at http://fido.gov/facadatabase/default.asp. Click to the "Public" icon. Click the icon for the appropriate year, and then scroll down to the "Department of Education" and select the appropriate committee.