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Education Department Establishing New Rulemaking Committee

August 9, 2021 by Dan McCue
Princeton University. (Photo by Dan McCue)

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Education published a notice in the Federal Register Monday establishing a negotiated rulemaking committee that will meet virtually beginning in October to rewrite regulations for Public Service Loan forgiveness, income-contingent repayment plans, and borrower defense to repayment, among other issues. 

These regulations will help borrowers manage repayment or receive a discharge or forgiveness of their federal student loans. The committee will also establish regulations to implement Pell Grant eligibility for incarcerated individuals, which will be discussed in a subcommittee. In the notice, the department requests nominations for negotiators and subcommittee members and sets dates for negotiation sessions.

“This rulemaking committee will do the important work of improving borrowers’ access to benefits that reduce the burden of federal student loans, including targeted discharges,” said Education Secretary Miguel Cardona. “We look forward to convening the committee and remain committed to the mission of better serving our nation’s students and borrowers.”

Negotiated rulemaking is a process by which the department convenes representatives of interested groups to discuss proposed regulations over multiple sessions with the goal of achieving consensus on the language of the proposed regulations. The department is soliciting nominations for primary and alternate negotiators to represent the following 16 constituent groups:

  • Dependent students;
  • Independent students;
  • Student loan borrowers;
  • Legal assistance organizations that represent students and/or borrowers;
  • U.S. military service members, veterans, or groups representing them;
  • State attorneys general;
  • State higher education executive officers, state authorizing agencies, and/or state regulators of institutions of higher education and/or loan servicers;
  • Individuals with disabilities or groups representing them;
  • Financial aid administrators at postsecondary institutions;
  • Two-year public institutions of higher education;
  • Four-year public institutions of higher education;
  • Private nonprofit institutions of higher education;
  • Proprietary institutions;
  • Minority-serving institutions of higher education;
  • Federal Family Education Loan lenders and/or guaranty agencies; and
  • Accrediting agencies.

The Department is also seeking two advisors to the committee. One to represent employers whose employees are eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness, the other an individual with expertise in research and analysis of higher education data. These are non-voting roles designed to provide technical assistance and expertise during the process.

To submit nominations for committee, subcommittee, or advisor spots, please email [email protected]. The Department will accept nominations for 21 days after the notice is published in the Federal Register.

The first negotiating session will run October 4 through 8, with subsequent meetings November 1-5 and December 6-10. The subcommittee will meet in between the full committee meetings. All sessions will be virtual and open to the public.

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