FR Doc E6-13642

[Federal Register: August 18, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 160)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 47756-47758]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access []
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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 committee.


SUMMARY: We announce our intention to establish up to four 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 also announce a series of four regional hearings, as 
detailed in the DATES section of this notice, where interested parties 
can suggest issues that should be considered for action by the 
negotiating committees. In addition, 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 November 9, 2006. (See dates, times, and 
locations of regional hearings under the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION 
section of this notice.)

ADDRESSES: Please send your nominations for negotiators to Patty Chase, 
U.S. Department of Education, 1990 K Street, NW., Room 8050, 
Washington, DC 20006, or by fax to Patty Chase at (202) 502-7874. You 

[[Page 47757]]

also e-mail your nominations to: 
Those nominated 
will be notified via letter as to whether or not they have been 
selected as a negotiator as soon as the Department's review process is 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For information about the hearings and 
the nomination submission process: Patty Chase, U.S. Department of 
Education, 1990 K Street, NW., Room 8050, Washington, DC 20006. 
Telephone: (202) 502-7905.
    For information about negotiated rulemaking in general: 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 negotiated rulemaking to:
    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), you may 
call the Federal Relay Service (FRS) at 1-800-877-8339.
    Individuals with disabilities may obtain this document in an 
alternative format (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, or computer 
diskette) on request to the contact person listed in this section for 
information about the hearings and the nomination submission process.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Section 492 of the Higher Education Act of 
1965, as amended (HEA), requires that, before publishing any proposed 
regulations to implement programs under Title IV of the HEA, the 
Secretary obtain public involvement in the development of the proposed 
regulations. After obtaining advice and recommendations from the 
public, the Secretary must use a negotiated rulemaking process to 
develop the proposed regulations.
    We intend to develop proposed regulations by following the 
negotiated rulemaking procedures in section 492 of the HEA. We intend 
to select participants for the negotiated rulemaking committees from 
nominees of the organizations and groups that represent the interests 
significantly affected by the proposed regulations. To the extent 
possible, we will select from the nominees, individual negotiators who 
reflect the diversity among program participants, in accordance with 
section 492(b)(1) of the HEA.

Regulatory Issues

    We intend to conduct negotiated rulemaking to develop proposed 
regulations for the new Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG) and 
National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant 
(National SMART Grant) programs, which were added to Title IV of the 
HEA by the Higher Education Reconciliation Act of 2005 (HERA), Pub. L. 
109-171. Interim final regulations for these programs, with an 
invitation to comment, were published in the Federal Register on July 
3, 2006 (71 FR 37990). The interim final regulations will be used to 
administer these programs for the 2006-2007 award year. The Secretary 
may, for the 2007-2008 award year, amend the regulations, as 
appropriate, in response to comments received. The regulations for 
these programs that will be developed through negotiated rulemaking 
would be in effect for the third and subsequent years of implementation 
of these programs (that is, beginning July 1, 2008).
    Additionally, we expect to conduct negotiated rulemaking on any 
modifications to the regulations governing the Title IV programs 
generally that may be suggested as a result of the final report from 
the Secretary's Commission on the Future of Higher Education. The 
Commission plans to issue its report by mid-September. Therefore, the 
regulatory negotiation process could be used, to the extent possible, 
to address any recommendations for reducing regulatory burden or 
improving the administration of the Department's programs authorized by 
Title IV of the HEA.
    We also note that there are bills currently pending in Congress to 
reauthorize the HEA. If reauthorization of the HEA is completed prior 
to the first negotiating session, we will, to the extent practicable, 
also include on the negotiating agenda changes to the regulations that 
may be needed to reflect any new law that may be enacted.
    We also expect to conduct negotiated rulemaking on other regulatory 
issues. These issues may include: issues raised by the public during 
the regional hearings; issues resulting from changes made by the HERA, 
other than those relating to the ACG/National SMART Grant programs; and 
items that have been identified by the Department as needed to improve 
program administration and accountability.

Structure of the Committees

    We anticipate having up to four negotiating committees based upon 
the nature of the topics to be negotiated. Each of the following 
committees will be organized as necessary depending upon the comments 
received as a result of this notice. One negotiating committee will 
focus on issues related to the ACG and National SMART Grant programs. A 
second committee would address issues related to the Federal student 
loan programs authorized by Title IV, Parts B, D, and E of the HEA. A 
third committee would address other programmatic, institutional 
eligibility and general provisions issues. This committee could address 
issues related to HEA Title IV Parts A (except for ACG and National 
SMART Grants), C, G, and H (except Subpart 2), as well as HEA Title II, 
Section 208(b)(2). A fourth committee would address accreditation 
issues (Title IV, Part H, Subpart 2). Our goal is to establish 
committees that will allow significantly affected parties to be 
represented while keeping the committees' size manageable.
    Nominations of individuals from coalitions of individuals and 
organizations representing the constituencies identified below are 
strongly encouraged. Moreover, the Department encourages nominations of 
individuals who are actively involved in administering the Federal 
programs that are the subject of these negotiated rulemaking sessions 
and who can represent the interests of groups that are significantly 
affected by the regulations. 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 constituencies listed below as 
having interests that are significantly affected by the subject matter 
of the negotiated rulemaking process. The Department anticipates that 
individuals representing each of these constituencies will participate 
as members of one or more of the negotiated rulemaking committees. 
These constituencies are:
    Students; Legal assistance organizations that represent students; 
Financial aid administrators at institutions of higher education; 
Business officers and bursars at institutions of higher education; 
Institutional servicers (including collection agencies); Trustees; 
State higher education executive officers; 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 
includes Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic-Serving 
Institutions, American Indian Tribally Controlled Colleges and 

[[Page 47758]]

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; and Accrediting Agencies.
    In addition to these groups, the Department would like the 
following groups to be represented on the negotiating committee for the 
ACG and National SMART Grant program:
    K-12 public schools, including charter schools; Governors; Private 
schools and home schooled students; Registrars; Admissions officers; 
Parent organizations; and Organizations related to National SMART Grant 
    While an individual selected to represent a constituency may be a 
representative of a group, institution, or industry participant, the 
individual will be expected to represent the interests of the entire 
constituency on the committee and to confer with other individuals and 
representatives of groups within that constituency.
    Nominations should include:
     The name of the nominee, the organization he or she works 
for, if any, and a description of the interests that he or she 
     Evidence of support from individuals or groups of the 
constituency that he or she will represent;
     The nominee's commitment that he or she will actively 
participate in good faith in the development of the proposed 
regulations; and
     The nominee's contact information, including address, 
phone number, fax number, and e-mail address.

Schedule for Negotiations

    We anticipate that the negotiating committees will meet in the 
Washington, DC, area three times beginning in December 2006 and 
concluding no later than March 2007. The dates and locations of these 
meetings will be published in a subsequent notice in the Federal 
Register, as well as being posted on the Department's Web site at:

    We will post the schedule for negotiations on our Web site. Each 
committee will use electronic mail to exchange documents and discuss 
proposals between meetings. The schedule will allow sufficient time for 
us to provide the public with a 60-day comment period for the proposed 
regulations resulting from the negotiated rulemaking process and 
sufficient time to address any issues raised in the comment period, 
while meeting the November 1 statutory deadline for publishing student 
financial assistance final regulations.

Regional Hearings

    We will hold four public regional hearings for interested parties 
to discuss the agenda for the negotiated rulemaking sessions. These 
hearings will be held on:
     September 19, 2006, at the University of California-
Berkeley in Berkeley, California;
     October 5, 2006, at the Loyola University in Chicago, 
     November 2, 2006, at the Royal Pacific Hotel Conference 
Center in Orlando, Florida; and
     November 8, 2006, at the U.S. Department of Education in 
Washington, DC.
    The regional hearings will be held from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. local time.
    Individuals desiring to present comments at the hearings are 
encouraged to do so. It is likely that each participant choosing to 
make a statement will be limited to five minutes. Individuals 
interested in making oral statements will be able to sign up to make a 
statement beginning at 8:30 a.m. on the day of the hearing at the 
Department's regional hearing on-site registration table on a first-
come, first-served basis. If additional time slots remain, individuals 
may be given additional time to speak. If no time slots remain, the 
Department has reserved one additional hour at the end of the day for 
people who were not able to register to speak. The amount of time 
available will depend upon the number of individuals who request 
reservations. Speakers may also submit written comments.
    In addition, for anyone unable to attend any of the regional 
hearings, the Department will also accept written comments. You should 
send your comments to: Wendy Macias, U.S. Department of Education, P.O. 
Box 33184, Washington, DC 20033-3184. All comments must be received by 
November 9, 2006.
    The regional hearing sites are accessible to individuals with 
disabilities. Persons needing an auxiliary aid or service to 
participate in the meeting (e.g., interpreting service, assistive 
listening device, or materials in alternative format), should notify 
the contact person for information about meetings listed under FOR 
FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT in this notice in advance of the scheduled 
meeting date. Although we will attempt to meet any request we receive, 
we may not be able to make available the requested auxiliary aid or 
service because of insufficient time to arrange it. Further information 
on the regional hearing sites is available on

Electronic Access to This Document

    You may view this document, in text or Adobe Portable Document 
Format (PDF) on the Internet at the following site:

    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:

    Program Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1098a.

    Dated: August 15, 2006.
James F. Manning,
Acting Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education.
[FR Doc. E6-13642 Filed 8-17-06; 8:45 am]