Federal Advisory Committees

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.

U.S. Department of Education
Committee Management Office
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202
Phone: (202) 401-3677

Last Modified: 06/21/2019