FR Doc E9-21695[Federal Register: September 9, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 173)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 46399-46401]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr09se09-31]       

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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

34 CFR Chapter VI

 
Office of Postsecondary Education; Notice of Negotiated 
Rulemaking for Programs Authorized Under Title IV of the Higher 
Education Act of 1965, as Amended

AGENCY: Department of Education.

ACTION: Notice of establishment of negotiated rulemaking committees.

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SUMMARY: We announce our intention to establish two negotiated 
rulemaking committees to prepare proposed regulations under Title IV of 
the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA). Each committee will 
include representatives of organizations or groups with interests that 
are significantly affected by the subject matter of the proposed 
regulations. We request nominations for individual negotiators who 
represent key stakeholder constituencies that are involved in the 
student financial assistance programs authorized under Title IV of the 
HEA to serve on these committees.

DATES: We must receive your nominations for negotiators to serve on the 
committees on or before September 25, 2009.

ADDRESSES: Please send your nominations for negotiators to Patty Chase, 
U.S. Department of Education, 1990 K Street, NW., room 8034, 
Washington, DC 20006, or by fax at (202) 502-7874. You may also e-mail 
your nominations to Wendy.Macias@ed.gov. Nominees will be notified 
whether or not they have been selected as negotiators, as soon as the 
Department's review process is completed.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For information about the content of 
this notice, including information about the negotiated rulemaking 
process or the nomination submission process contact: Wendy Macias, 
U.S. Department of Education, 1990 K Street, NW., room 8017, 
Washington, DC 20006. Telephone: (202) 502-7526. You may also e-mail 
your questions about the nomination submission process to: 
Wendy.Macias@ed.gov.

    Note: For general information about the negotiated rulemaking 
process, see The Negotiated Rulemaking Process for Title IV 
Regulations, Frequently Asked Questions at 
http://www.ed.gov/policy/highered/reg/hearulemaking/hea08/neg-reg-faq.html.

    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call the 
Federal Relay Service (FRS), toll free at 1-800-877-8339.
    Individuals with disabilities can obtain this document in an 
accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, audiotape, or computer 
diskette) by contacting the contact person under FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On May 26, 2009, we published a notice in 
the Federal Register (74 FR 24728) announcing our intent to establish 
negotiated rulemaking committees to develop proposed regulations (1) 
governing foreign schools, including the implementation of the changes 
made to the HEA by the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA), 
Public Law 110-315, that affect foreign schools; and (2) to maintain or 
improve program integrity in the Title IV, HEA programs. We announced 
our intent to develop these proposed regulations by following the 
negotiated rulemaking procedures in section 492 of the HEA. The notice 
also announced a series of three regional hearings at which interested 
parties could comment on the topics suggested by the Department, and 
suggest additional topics for consideration for action by the 
negotiating committees. We invited parties to comment and submit topics 
for consideration in writing, as well. We heard testimony and received 
written comments from approximately 290 individuals. Transcripts from 
the hearings and copies of the written comments can be found at 
http://www.ed.gov/policy/highered/reg/hearulemaking/2009/negreg-summerfall.html.
    Regulatory Issues: After consideration of the information received 
at the regional hearings and in writing, we have decided to establish 
the following two negotiating committees:
 Team I--Program Integrity Issues
 Team II--Foreign School Issues
    We received many comments suggesting that we negotiate issues 
related to the student loan programs authorized under Title IV of the 
HEA. As we anticipate the need to convene a negotiated rulemaking 
committee following the completion of pending legislative action 
related to student loans, we will not be including student loan issues 
on the agenda at this time. Many of those who testified and those who 
provided written comments made the case for changes to bankruptcy rules 
as they relate to student loans; some also called for changes in 
statutes of limitations and loan refinancing rules. While those issues 
are important, addressing them would require action by Congress.
    We also received comments suggesting revisions to the institutional 
financial responsibility regulations for Title IV, HEA institutional 
eligibility. We agree that this is an area where changes may be 
beneficial. However, significant analysis must be done by the 
Department before we can bring this issue to a committee for 
negotiation. We will be beginning this process in the near future. More 
information about the public aspects of this process will be 
forthcoming on the Department's Web site.
    We list the topics each committee is likely to address during this 
round of negotiations elsewhere in this notice under Committee Topics.
    We intend to select negotiators for the committees that represent 
the interests significantly affected by the topics proposed for 
negotiations. In so doing, we will follow the requirement in section 
492(b)(1) of the HEA that the individuals selected must have 
demonstrated expertise or experience in the relevant subjects under 
negotiation. We will also select individual negotiators who reflect the 
diversity among program participants, in accordance with section 
492(b)(1) of the HEA. Our goal is to establish committees that will 
allow significantly affected parties to be represented while keeping 
the committee size manageable.
    The committees may create subgroups on particular topics that would 
involve additional individuals who are not members of the committees. 
Individuals who are not selected as members of the committees will be 
able to attend the meetings, have access to the individuals 
representing their constituencies, and participate in informal working 
groups on various issues between the meetings. The committee meetings 
will be open to the public.
    The Department has identified the following constituencies as 
having interests that are significantly affected by the topics proposed 
for negotiations. The Department plans to seat as negotiators 
individuals from organizations or groups representing each of these 
constituencies. The Department anticipates that individuals from 
organizations or groups representing each of these constituencies will 
participate as members of one or more committees as appropriate. These 
constituencies are:
     Students.

[[Page 46400]]

     Legal assistance organizations that represent students.
     Consumer advocacy organizations.
     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 programs (including collection agencies).
     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 and B, 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, 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.
     Guaranty agencies and guaranty agency servicers (including 
collection agencies).
     Lenders, secondary markets, and loan servicers.
     Regional accrediting agencies.
     National accrediting agencies.
     Specialized accrediting agencies.
     State approval agencies.
     State student grant agencies.
     State agencies addressing secondary education.
     Private secondary schools.
     Home schools for secondary education.
     Foreign institutions.
     Governmental entities overseeing public foreign 
institutions.
     Clinical sites of foreign medical institutions located in 
the United States (for Team II--Foreign School Issues, Issues specific 
to foreign medical schools).
     State agencies that certify clinical sites of foreign 
medical institutions in the United States (for Team II--Foreign School 
Issues, Issues specific to foreign medical schools).
    The negotiation of proposed regulations for issues specific to 
foreign medical schools on the Team II agenda requires some specific 
constituencies who are affected parties for purposes of these issues 
only.
    For these issues, we will be selecting ``single-issue negotiators'' 
whose participation on the committee will be limited to the negotiation 
of only the issues specific to foreign medical schools. As previously 
noted, the committee may form subgroups for preliminary discussions of 
these, or other, issues to include individuals who are not members of 
the committee but who have expertise that would be helpful.
    The goal of each committee is to develop proposed regulations that 
reflect a final consensus of the committee. Consensus means that there 
is no dissent by any member of the negotiating committee. An individual 
selected as a negotiator will be expected to represent the interests of 
their organization or group. If consensus is reached, all members of 
the organization or group represented by a negotiator are bound by the 
consensus and are prohibited from commenting negatively on the 
resulting proposed regulations. The Department will not consider any 
such negative comments that are submitted by members of such an 
organization or group.
    Nominations should include:
     The name of the nominee, the organization or group the 
nominee represents, and a description of the interests that the nominee 
represents.
     Evidence of the nominee's expertise or experience in the 
subject, or subjects, to be negotiated.
     Evidence of support from individuals or groups of the 
constituency that the nominee will represent.
     The nominee's commitment that he or she will actively 
participate in good faith in the development of the proposed 
regulations.
     The nominee's contact information, including address, 
phone number, fax number, and e-mail address.
    For a better understanding of the negotiated rulemaking process, 
nominees should review The Negotiated Rulemaking Process for Title IV 
Regulations, Frequently Asked Questions at 
http://www.ed.gov/policy/highered/reg/hearulemaking/hea08/neg-reg-faq.html
prior to committing to serve as a negotiator.

Committee Topics

    The topics the committees are likely to address are as follows:

Team I--Program Integrity Issues

     Satisfactory academic progress.
     Monitoring grade point averages.
     Incentive compensation.
     Gainful employment in a recognized occupation.
     State authorization as a component of institutional 
eligibility.
     Definition of a credit hour.
     Verification of information included on a Free Application 
for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
     Definition of a high school diploma for purposes of 
establishing eligibility to participate in Federal student aid 
programs.
     Misrepresentation of information provided to students and 
prospective students.
     Ability to benefit.
     Agreements between institutions of higher education.
     Retaking coursework.
     Term-based module programs.
     Institutions required to take attendance for purposes of 
the Return of Title IV Funds requirements.
     Timeliness and method of disbursement of Title IV funds.

Team II--Foreign School Issues

     United States Generally Accepted Accounting Principles 
(U.S. GAAP) financial statements (section 493(b) of the HEOA).
     Compliance audits (section 493(b) of the HEOA).
     Definition of a foreign school.
     Non-profit status for foreign schools.
     Public foreign schools and financial responsibility.
     Consolidation of select Title IV requirements on a 
countrywide basis.
     Deferments for eligible non-citizens.
     Non-degree programs.
     Issues specific to foreign medical schools:
    [cir] New eligibility criteria for foreign medical schools (section 
102(a)(1)(B) and (b) of the HEOA).
    [cir] Clinical sites of foreign medical schools in other countries.
    [cir] Basic science locations of foreign medical schools in other 
countries.
     Eligibility requirements for foreign veterinary schools.
     Eligibility requirements for foreign nursing schools 
(sections 102(a)(1)(A) and (D) of the HEOA).
     Foreign medical and veterinary schools certified 
separately from larger school.
    These topics are tentative. Topics may be added or removed as the 
process continues.

Schedule for Negotiations

    We anticipate that negotiations for these committees will begin at 
the end of October 2009, with each committee

[[Page 46401]]

meeting for three sessions of approximately five days at roughly 
monthly intervals. Meetings will start on a Monday at 1:00 and end on a 
Friday at noon. The committees will meet in the Washington, DC area. 
The dates and locations of these meetings will be posted on the 
Department's Web site at: 
http://www.ed.gov/policy/highered/reg/hearulemaking/2009/negreg-summerfall.html.
    The schedule for these negotiations has been developed to ensure 
publication of the final regulations by the November 1, 2010 statutory 
deadline for publishing Title IV, HEA student financial assistance 
final regulations.

Electronic Access to This Document

    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), on the Internet at the following site: 
http://www.ed.gov/news/fedregister.
    To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available 
free at this site. If you have questions about using PDF, call the U.S. 
Government Printing Office toll free at 1-888-293-6498; or in the 
Washington, DC, area at (202) 512-1530.

    Note: 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 on GPO Access at: 
http://www.gpoaccess.gov/nara/index.html.

    Program Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1098a.
    Delegation of Authority: The Secretary of Education has delegated 
authority to Daniel T. Madzelan, Director, Forecasting and Policy 
Analysis for the Office of Postsecondary Education, to perform the 
functions and duties of the Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary 
Education.

    Dated: September 3, 2009.
Daniel T. Madzelan,
Director, Forecasting and Policy Analysis.
[FR Doc. E9-21695 Filed 9-8-09; 8:45 am]

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