[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 87 (Thursday, May 5, 2011)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 25650-25652]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-10909]


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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

34 CFR Chapter VI

[Docket ID ED-2011-OPE-0003]


Negotiated Rulemaking Committees; Public Hearings

AGENCY: Office of Postsecondary Education, Department of Education.

ACTION: Intent to establish negotiated rulemaking committees.

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SUMMARY: We announce our intention to establish one or more negotiated 
rulemaking committees to propose regulations under the Higher Education 
Act of 1965, as amended (HEA). The committees will include 
representatives of organizations or groups with interests that are 
significantly affected by the subject matter of the proposed 
regulations, as described more fully in the Regulatory Issues section 
of this document. We also announce three public hearings, at which 
interested parties may suggest additional issues that should be 
considered for action by the negotiating committees. In addition, for 
anyone unable to attend a public hearing, we announce that the 
Department will accept written comments.
    Finally, the Department announces that it will conduct roundtable 
discussions that focus on the areas of teacher preparation, college 
completion, and the Department's proposed ``First in the World'' 
competition, as more fully described in the Roundtable Discussions 
section of this document.

DATES: The dates, times, and locations of the public hearings and the 
roundtable discussions are listed under the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION 
section of this notice. We must receive written comments suggesting 
issues that should be considered for action by the negotiating 
committees on or before May 20, 2011.

ADDRESSES: Submit your comments through the Federal eRulemaking Portal 
or via postal mail, commercial delivery, or hand delivery. We will not 
accept comments by fax or by e-mail. Please submit your comments only 
one time, in order to ensure that we do not receive duplicate copies. 
In addition, please include the Docket ID at the top of your comments.
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to www.regulations.gov to 
submit your comments electronically. Information on using 
Regulations.gov, including instructions for finding a notice, 
submitting a comment, finding a comment, and signing up for e-mail 
alerts, is available on the site under ``How to Use Regulations.gov'' 
in the Help section.
     Postal Mail, Commercial Delivery, or Hand Delivery. If you 
mail or deliver your comments about these proposed regulations, address 
them to Nikki Harris, U.S. Department of Education, 1990 K Street, NW., 
room 8033, Washington, DC 20006.


    Privacy Note: The Department's policy for comments received from 
members of the public (including those comments submitted by mail, 
commercial delivery, or hand delivery) is to make these submissions 
available for public viewing in their entirety on the Federal 
eRulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov. Therefore, commenters 
should be careful to include in their comments only information that 
they wish to make publicly available on the Internet.


FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For information about the public 
hearings and roundtable discussions, go to http://www2.ed.gov/policy/highered/reg/hearulemaking/2011/hearings.html or contact: Nikki Harris, 
U.S. Department of Education, 1990 K Street, NW., room 8033, 
Washington, DC 20006. Telephone: (202) 219-7050. You may also e-mail 
your questions about the public hearings to: negreg.2011@ed.gov.
    For information about negotiated rulemaking in general, go to The 
Negotiated Rulemaking Process for Title

[[Page 25651]]

IV Regulations, Frequently Asked Questions at http://www.ed.gov/policy/highered/reg/hearulemaking/hea08/neg-reg-faq.html or 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 negotiated rulemaking to: Wendy.Macias@ed.gov.
    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 Nikki Harris, U.S. Department of Education, 
1990 K Street, NW., room 8033, Washington DC 20006 Telephone: (202) 
219-7050.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Section 492 of the HEA requires that, before 
publishing any proposed regulations to implement programs authorized 
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 conducts negotiated 
rulemaking to develop the proposed regulations. We announce our intent 
to develop proposed title IV, HEA regulations by following the 
negotiated rulemaking procedures in section 492 of the HEA.
    We intend to select participants for each 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.
    In addition, the Secretary is interested in receiving public 
comment on the issues summarized in the Roundtable Discussions section 
of this notice. The Secretary is particularly interested in receiving 
public comment on the development of proposed regulations under 
sections 205 and 207 in title II of the HEA on streamlining 
institutional reporting requirements and improving State identification 
of low-performing teacher preparation programs.

Regulatory Issues

    We intend to convene at least one committee to develop proposed 
regulations to address title IV loan program issues. These regulations 
would address issues such as those arising from the changes made to the 
HEA by the Student Aid Fiscal Responsibility Act (SAFRA), title II of 
the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (Pub. L. 111-
152), which ended the origination of loans under the Federal Family 
Education Loan (FFEL) Program as of July 1, 2010. With this statutory 
change, all new Stafford, PLUS and Consolidation loan originations with 
a first disbursement on or after July 1, 2010, are made under the 
William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program. As a result 
of the statutory change, the Department intends to streamline the loan 
program regulations by repealing unnecessary FFEL Program regulations 
in 34 CFR part 682 and incorporating and modifying necessary 
requirements within the Direct Loan Program regulations in 34 CFR part 
685, as appropriate. In addition, we intend to address, through 
negotiated rulemaking, other issues in the Federal student loan 
programs, including possible changes in the regulations governing the 
income-contingent and income-based repayment plans and the process for 
making total and permanent disability determinations.
    As noted elsewhere in this notice, we are also considering 
developing proposed regulations to streamline institutional reporting 
requirements, and proposed regulations regarding better State 
identification of low-performing teacher preparation programs pursuant 
to sections 205 and 207 of the HEA through focusing reporting on 
improved measures of program quality.
    After a complete review of the public comments presented at the 
public hearings and in the written submissions, we will publish a 
subsequent document (or documents) announcing the specific subject 
areas for which we intend to establish one or more negotiated 
rulemaking committees, and a request for nominations for individual 
negotiators who represent the interests significantly affected by the 
proposed regulations.

Public Hearings

    We will hold three public hearings for interested parties to 
discuss the rulemaking agenda. The public hearings will be held on:
     May 16, 2011, at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, 
Washington
     May 19, 2011, at Loyola University-Lakeshore Campus in 
Chicago, Illinois
     May 26, 2011, at College of Charleston in Charleston, 
South Carolina
    The public hearings will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., local 
time. Further information on the public hearing sites, including 
addresses and directions, is available at http://www2.ed.gov/policy/highered/reg/hearulemaking/2011/hearings.html.
    Individuals desiring to present comments at the public hearings 
must register by sending an e-mail to negreg.2011@ed.gov. The e-mail 
should include the name of the presenter along with a general timeframe 
during which the individual would like to speak (for example, a 
presenter could indicate morning or afternoon, or before 11:00 a.m. or 
after 3:00 p.m.). We will attempt to accommodate each speaker's 
preference but, if we are unable to do so, we will make the 
determination based on the time and date the e-mail was received. It is 
likely that each participant will be limited to five minutes. The 
Department will notify registrants indicating the specific location and 
time slot reserved for them. An individual may make only one 
presentation at the public hearings. If we receive more registrations 
than we are able to accommodate, the Department reserves the right to 
reject the registration of an entity or individual that is affiliated 
with an entity or individual that is already scheduled to present 
comments, and to select among registrants to ensure that a broad range 
of entities and individuals is allowed to present. We will accept walk-
in registrations for any remaining time slots on a first-come first-
served basis beginning at 8:30 a.m. on the day of the public hearing at 
the Department's on-site registration table.
    Speakers may also submit written comments. In addition, for anyone 
who does not present comments at a public hearing, the Department will 
accept written comments through May 20, 2011. (See the ADDRESSES 
sections of this document for submission information.)

Roundtable Discussions

    On the day following each public hearing, the Department intends to 
conduct roundtable discussions at the same location as each public 
hearing, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. local time. The Department also 
intends to conduct roundtable discussions from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. 
local time at Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tennessee on May 
12, 2011. The Department may hold additional roundtable discussions, 
which will be announced on the Department's Web site at: http://www2.ed.gov/policy/highered/reg/hearulemaking/2011/roundtable.html.
    These roundtable discussions are intended to complement the 
hearings, which will have a broader focus, and inform the policy 
development process in the specific areas of teacher

[[Page 25652]]

preparation, college completion, and a ``First in the World'' 
competition. For those unable to attend one of the policy roundtable 
discussions, we will also accept written comments and suggestions on 
the topics discussed at the roundtable.
    The Department intends to use these roundtable discussions to 
inform our postsecondary education policies in three key areas--teacher 
preparation, college completion, and the proposed ``First in the 
World'' grant competition, proposed in the President's fiscal year (FY) 
2012 budget under the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary 
Education (FIPSE). The three roundtable discussions at each of the four 
locations announced above will each focus on one of these areas.
    The first topic will be the design and implementation plans for 
teacher preparation programs. We will discuss: (1) The proposed 
Presidential Teaching Fellows program along with the already authorized 
Honorable Augustus F. Hawkins Centers for Excellence program (subpart 
2, part B, title II of the HEA) for which the Administration has 
requested funding; (2) ways in which the Department can streamline 
institutional reporting requirements; and (3) State identification of 
low-performing teacher preparation programs pursuant to sections 205 
and 207 of the HEA.
    A second topic will be college completion, with a focus on 
obtaining information about State-level reform efforts that show the 
most promise for increasing college completion. We will also discuss 
the College Completion Incentive Grants program, proposed in the 
President's fiscal year (FY) 2012 budget, which would encourage States 
to make systemic reforms in their higher education systems to increase 
the number of students who complete a postsecondary degree or 
certificate program and also reward institutions within those States 
that increase their completion rates.
    The third topic will be possible priorities and structure for the 
(FIPSE) ``First in the World'' competition. The purpose of this 
discussion is to obtain information about institutional reform efforts 
that show the most promise for increasing college completion, expanding 
institutional capacity, and improving quality of student outcomes. This 
input will be used to inform the development of competitive preferences 
and invitational priorities and the structure of the FIPSE ``First in 
the World'' competition.
    While the Department is inviting representatives of students, 
families, teachers, teacher educators, college access professionals, 
and college success practitioners to participate in these roundtable 
discussions, the roundtable discussions will also be open to the 
public, with opportunities to provide public comment. Individuals 
desiring to participate in the roundtable discussions must register by 
sending an email to HigherEducationRoundtable.2011@ed.gov. The email 
should include the name of the participant and his or her affiliation, 
and identify which policy roundtable discussion she or he would like to 
participate in, and at which location. We will attempt to accommodate 
each participant's preference but, if we are unable to do so, we will 
make the determination based on the time and date the email was 
received. The Department will notify each registrant by email of the 
specific location and roundtable discussion he or she was selected to 
participate in. An individual may only participate in one roundtable 
discussion per location. If we receive more registrations than we are 
able to accommodate, the Department reserves the right to reject the 
registration of an entity or individual that is affiliated with an 
entity or individual that is already scheduled to participate in the 
same roundtable discussion, and to select among registrants to ensure 
that a broad range of entities and individuals are allowed to present. 
We will accept walk-in participants on a first-come first-served basis 
beginning at 8:30 a.m. on the day of each roundtable discussion at the 
Department's on-site registration table.
    The public hearing/roundtable sites are accessible to individuals 
with disabilities. Individuals needing an auxiliary aid or service to 
participate in the hearing or a roundtable discussion (e.g., 
interpreting service, assistive listening device, or materials in 
alternative format), should notify the contact person identified for 
information about hearings listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT 
in this document in advance of the scheduled hearing 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 if we do not have 
sufficient time to arrange it.

Schedule for Negotiations

    We anticipate that any negotiated rulemaking committees established 
after these public hearings will begin negotiations in August or 
September 2011, with each committee meeting for up to three sessions of 
approximately three days at roughly monthly intervals. The committees 
will meet in the Washington, DC area. The dates and locations of these 
meetings will be announced in a subsequent document in the Federal 
Register, and will be posted on the Department's Web site at: http://www2.ed.gov/policy/highered/reg/hearulemaking/2011/hearings.html.
    Electronic Access to This Document: 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 via the Federal Digital System 
at: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys. At this site 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). To 
use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free at 
the site.
    You may also access documents of the Department published in the 
Federal Register by using the article search feature at: http://www.federalregister.gov. Specifically, through the advanced search 
feature at this site, you can limit your search to documents published 
by the Department.

    Program Authority:  20 U.S.C. 1022-1022h, 1098a.

    Dated: April 28, 2011.
Eduardo M. Ochoa,
Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education.
[FR Doc. 2011-10909 Filed 5-4-11; 8:45 am]
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