The Department of Education Announces Public Hearings on Higher Education Rulemaking

Archived Information

The Department of Education Announces Public Hearings on Higher Education Rulemaking

March 23, 2023

The U.S. Department of Education (Department) announced today that it will hold virtual public hearings on April 11, 12, and 13 to receive stakeholder feedback on potential issues for future rulemaking sessions.

The Department’s regulatory efforts reflect our commitment to supporting students and ensuring they can access opportunities that will help them succeed.

“The Department’s primary responsibility is to serve students and help them succeed,” said Education Secretary Miguel Cardona. “That means we must continue to take a look at a range of regulations to ensure that colleges and programs serve our students well and that Department processes work in their best interest.”

Today’s announcement is the first step in the process of issuing new regulations. Following the public hearings, the Department will finalize the issues to be addressed through rulemaking and solicit nominations for non-federal negotiators who can serve on the negotiated rulemaking committee(s), which will convene in fall 2023.

The Department suggests the following topics for regulation in the hearing notice but invites comment on any regulatory issue that can improve outcomes for students. Potential topics may include:

  • The Secretary’s recognition of accrediting agencies and related issues
  • Institutional eligibility, including State authorization
  • Third-party servicers and related issues
  • The definition of distance education as it pertains to clock hour programs and reporting students who enroll primarily online
  • Return of Title IV funds
  • Cash management to address disbursement of student funds
  • Federal TRIO programs

We also invite public input on how the Department could, through its Title IV regulations, help improve borrowers’ understanding of repayment options and ensure borrowers select an income-driven repayment plan—instead of enrolling in deferment or forbearance—if doing so would be in their best interest.

The virtual public hearings will be held from April 11-13 from 10 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Eastern Time. Individuals who would like to make comments at the public hearings must register by sending an email message to no later than noon Eastern Time on the business day prior to the public hearing at which they wish to speak. The message should include the name and email address of the speaker, the general topic(s) to be addressed, and at least two dates and times during which the individual would be available to speak.

The Department will attempt to accommodate each speaker’s scheduling preference; however, if we are unable to do so, determinations will be made on a first- come first-served basis, based on the registration submission time and date. Participant comments will be limited to four minutes. Individuals who wish to view the hearings without providing comment must register to observe. The public is also invited to provide written comment for 30 days following the official posting.

Further information on the public hearings is available here. More on the negotiated rulemaking process is available here.