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ED/OPE RIN: 1840-AD37 Publication ID: Fall 2018 
Title: Accreditation and Related Issues 
Abstract:

The Department is proposing to amend, through negotiated rulemaking, the regulations relating to the Secretary’s recognition of accrediting agencies and accreditation procedures as a component of institutional eligibility for participation in Federal student financial aid under title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended.

 
Agency: Department of Education(ED)  Priority: Economically Significant 
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Proposed Rule Stage 
Major: Yes  Unfunded Mandates: Undetermined 
EO 13771 Designation: Other 
CFR Citation: Not Yet Determined     (To search for a specific CFR, visit the Code of Federal Regulations.)
Legal Authority: 20 U.S.C. 3474    20 U.S.C. 1221e-3    20 U.S.C. 1011 et seq.   
Legal Deadline:  None

Statement of Need:

As required by Executive Order 13771 and 13777, the Department must identify regulations that are among other things outdated, unnecessary, or ineffective and create a serious inconsistency or otherwise interfere with regulatory reform initiative and policies. 

We believe that a revision to the accreditation regulations is necessary to restore the separation of duties in responsibilities in the triad: the State Authorization, Accreditation, and the U.S. Department of Education.  We believe that the accreditation regulations may contain redundancy, unnecessary duplication of oversight, and pose broad Federal overreach in measuring program quality. We also want to ensure that accreditors while measuring institutional quality do not infringe on autonomy of institutions in their missions.

Summary of the Legal Basis:

The Department has the authority to establish a negotiated rulemaking committee with the purpose of creating, amending or rescinding regulations in the Code of Federal Regulations. 

Alternatives:

One alternative is not to negotiate on the proposed topic and instead work on sub-regulatory guidance to ease burden and clarify current regulations for postsecondary institutions and accreditors.

 Note that, the intent to establish a negotiated rulemaking committee has already been published; the topics proposed for negotiation have been added to the Agency Agenda Report/Unified Agenda . Further, the Department has already conducted one of three public hearings inviting comment on our Federal Register notice outlining our intent to negotiate. After reviewing feedback from comments received, the Department may choose to modify the topics proposed for negotiation and at that time we can more thoughtfully provide alternatives. 

Anticipated Costs and Benefits:

We have limited information about the potential cost and benefits and cannot estimate at this time. 

Risks:

By negotiating on a wide range of topics in one negotiated rulemaking panel there is an increased risk on not reaching consensus.   To account for this, the Department will provide draft language prior to the first session of three sessions (each session is three days long) of negotiated rulemaking. Historically, the first session has been used as a listening session to get feedback from the rulemaking committee and the Department provides more specific proposals to the rulemaking committee between the first and second session.

Timetable:
Action Date FR Cite
Notice of Intention to Commence Negotiated Rulemaking  07/31/2018  83 FR 36814   
NPRM  06/00/2019 
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Undetermined  Government Levels Affected: Undetermined 
Federalism: Undetermined 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: Yes 
RIN Data Printed in the FR: No 
Agency Contact:
Lynn Mahaffie
Department of Education
Office of Postsecondary Education
Room 4060, 400 Maryland Avenue SW,
Washington, DC 20202
Phone:202 453-6914