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OPE: Office of Postsecondary Education
   Current Section  Policy Initiatives
Office of Postsecondary Education - Policy Initiatives

| Policy Initiatives | Data Collection & Reporting |
| Library: Legislation, Regulations, Etc. |

The Office of Postsecondary Education formulates federal postsecondary education policy including policy relating to the federal student financial assistance programs. OPE also collects and disseminates student financial assistance program data as well as data in several key areas relating to postsecondary education.

Policy Initiatives

Financial Aid Shopping Sheet
[formerly known as the Model Financial Aid Offer Form]
The Office of Postsecondary Education is working with students, families, the financial aid community, and others to develop model formats for financial aid offer forms. These forms, often referred to as Financial Aid Award Letters, are sent to prospective students by colleges, universities and other postsecondary institutions to let them know how much financial aid the student can expect to receive when they attend school.

Negotiated Rulemaking: 2014 - 2015

Information on the 2014 - 2015 negotiated rulemaking activities for higher education.

Negotiated Rulemaking: 2012 - 2014

Information on the 2012 - 2014 negotiated rulemaking activities for higher education.

Negotiated Rulemaking: 2011

Information on the 2011 negotiated rulemaking activities for higher education.

Frequently Asked Questions: Institutional Readmission Requirements for Servicemembers

Negotiated Rulemaking: 2009 - 2010

On June 13, 2011, the Department published final regulations amending the Student Assistance General Provisions regulations to improve disclosure of relevant information and to establish minimal measures for determining whether certain postsecondary educational programs lead to gainful employment in recognized occupations, and the conditions under which these educational programs remain eligible for the student financial assistance programs authorized under title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA).

On June 2, 2011, the Department issued a Press Release announcing the completion of the Gainful Employment--Debt Measures final regulation.

On April 13, 2011, the Department published a correction to the final regulations published on October 29, 2010 to improve integrity in the programs authorized under title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA), by amending the regulations for Institutional Eligibility Under the HEA, the Secretary's Recognition of Accrediting Agencies, the Secretary's Recognition Procedures for State Agencies, the Student Assistance General Provisions, the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program, the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program, the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program in part 686, the Federal Pell Grant Program, and the Academic Competitiveness Grant (AGC) and National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant (National Smart Grant) Programs.

On November 1, 2010 the Department published final regulations for Institutional Eligibility Under the Higher Education Act of 1965, the Student Assistance General Provisions, the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program, and the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program to implement provisions related to the eligibility of foreign institutions for participation in the Federal student aid programs that were added to the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA), by the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (Pub. L. 110-315) (HEOA), as well as other provisions related to the eligibility of foreign institutions.

On October 29, 2010 the Department published final regulations amending the regulations for Institutional Eligibility Under the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA), to establish a process under which an institution applies for approval to offer an educational program that leads to gainful employment in a recognized occupation.

On October 29, 2010 the Department published final regulations improving integrity in the programs authorized under title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA), by amending the regulations for Institutional Eligibility Under the HEA, the Secretary's Recognition of Accrediting Agencies, the Secretary's Recognition Procedures for State Agencies, the Student Assistance General Provisions, the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program, the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program, the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program in part 686, the Federal Pell Grant Program, and the Academic Competitiveness Grant (AGC) and National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant (National Smart Grant) Programs.

On July 26, 2010 the Department published in the Federal Register a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NRPM). Through this NPRM, the Secretary proposes to amend the Student Assistance General Provisions to establish measures for determining whether certain postsecondary educational programs lead to gainful employment in recognized occupations, and the conditions under which these educational programs remain eligible for the student financial assistance programs authorized under title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA).
-- Press Release

To access the public comments submitted in response to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, go to: www.regulations.gov and search docket number ED-2012-OPE-0010.

On July 20, 2010 the Department published in the Federal Register a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NRPM). Through this NPRM, the Secretary proposes to implement provisions related to the eligibility of foreign institutions for participation in the Federal student aid programs that were added to the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA), by the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA), as well as other provisions related to the eligibility of a foreign institution by amending the regulations for Institutional Eligibility Under the Higher Education Act of 1965, the Student Assistance General Provisions, and the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program.

On June 18, 2010 the Department published in the Federal Register a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NRPM). Through this NPRM, the Secretary proposes to improve integrity in the programs authorized under title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA) by amending the regulations for Institutional Eligibility Under the HEA, the Secretary's Recognition of Accrediting Agencies, the Secretary's Recognition Procedures for State Agencies, the Student Assistance General Provisions, the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program, the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program, the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program, the Federal Pell Grant Program, and the Academic Competitiveness Grant (AGC) and National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant (National Smart Grant) Programs.
-- Press Release

On September 9, 2009 the Department published a notice in the Federal Register announcing its intent to establish two negotiated rulemaking committees to prepare proposed regulations under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended. This notice also solicits nominations for negotiators.

Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act
On August 14, 2008 the Higher Education Opportunity Act was signed into law. This law reauthorizes and extends the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA). The HEA provides the authorizing legislation for most of the programs administered by OPE, as well as for the Federal Student Aid Programs.

The HEOA requires that the Secretary consult with federal agency heads in order to receive recommendations regarding areas of national need for expertise in foreign languages and world regions. The link below provides recent and historical areas of national need identified by the Secretary, consisting of priority languages that are less commonly taught and the world regions.

Dear Colleague Letter
The Department has published a Dear Colleague Letter which provides a summary of each provision of the HEOA. However, affected parties are responsible for taking the steps necessary to comply by the effective dates established by the HEOA. The provisions of the HEOA are effective upon enactment unless otherwise noted in the law. Potentially affected parties should review the legislation immediately to determine the proper measures they must take to comply.

Negotiated Rulemaking Spring 2009
Information on the spring 2009 negotiated rulemaking activities for higher education.

On October 26, 2010 the Department published in the Federal Register final regulations amending the High School Equivalency Program and College Assistance Migrant Program (HEP and CAMP); the Federal TRIO programs (TRIO Programs--Training Program for Federal TRIO Programs (Training), Talent Search (TS), Educational Opportunity Centers (EOC), Upward Bound (UB), Student Support Services (SSS), and the Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement (McNair) Programs; and the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Program (GEAR UP) program regulations to implement provisions of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA), as amended by the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA). These regulations are effective December 27, 2010.

On October 29, 2009 the Department published in the Federal Register final regulations amending the Federal Perkins Loan (Perkins Loan) Program, Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program, and William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program regulations to implement provisions of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA), as amended by the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA), and other recently enacted legislation. These regulations are effective July 1, 2010.

On October 29, 2009 the Department published in the Federal Register final regulations amending the regulations for Institutional Eligibility Under the Higher Education Act of 1965, the Student Assistance General Provisions, the Federal Work-Study (FWS) Programs, the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program, the Federal Pell Grant Program, and the Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership Program (LEAP) to implement various general and non-loan provisions of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA), as amended by the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA) and other recently enacted legislation. These regulations are effective July 1, 2010.

On October 28, 2009 the Department published in the Federal Register, final regulations regarding Institutions and Lender Requirements Relating to Education Loans, to implement requirements relating to education loans that were added to the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA) by the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA). The Secretary also amends the regulations for Student Assistance General Provisions, the Federal Perkins Loan (Perkins Loan) Program, the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program, and the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program to implement certain provisions of the HEA that involve school-based loan issues and that were affected by the statutory changes made to the HEA by the HEOA. These regulations are effective July 1, 2010.

On October 27, 2009 the Department published in the Federal Register final regulations governing institutional eligibility and the Secretary's recognition of accrediting agencies. The Secretary is amending these regulations to implement changes to the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA), resulting from enactment of the Higher Education Reconciliation Act of 2005 (HERA), and the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA), and to clarify, improve, and update the current regulations. These regulations are effective July 1, 2010.

Dear Colleague Letter
The Department published a Dear Colleague Letter to accrediting agencies in response to the information they provided about how they are coming into compliance with the Secretary’s Criteria for Recognition in light of the new provisions in the HEOA. The letter provides general guidance concerning how the Department interprets each of the new provisions in the HEOA and identifies portions of the regulations reflecting these changes that will be effective on July 1, 2010. The letter enclosured a complete copy of the new regulations.

Ensuring Continued Access to Student Loans
The Department of Education is committed to ensuring that every eligible student and his or her parents are able to obtain the federal student loans they need to meet educational expenses.

Competitive Loan Auction Pilot Program for PLUS loans
Please note that the loan auction scheduled for April 15, 2009 has been cancelled.

Negotiated Rulemaking for Higher Education 2007-08
Information on the 2007-08 negotiated rulemaking activities for higher education.

Negotiated Rulemaking for Higher Education 2006-07
Information on the 2006-07 negotiated rulemaking activities for higher education.

Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG) and National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant (National SMART Grant) Programs:

Dear Partner (Colleague) Letters

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Data Collection and Reporting

OPE collects and reports on data in several areas relating to postsecondary education:

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Library: Legislation, Regulations, Etc.

Links to the authorizing legislation for OPE programs, program regulations, reports, and other relevant policy information.

Other Policy Resources

Includes additional resources from the U.S. Department of Education, other federal agencies, and non-federal sources.

Federal Resources

Education Agencies and Associations

U.S. Department of Education
Office of Postsecondary Education
1990 K Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20006

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Last Modified: 09/03/2014