Mapping Your Future: The Department of Education announces public hearings on Higher Education Rulemaking


The Department of Education announces public hearings on Higher Education Rulemaking

By Catherine Mueller

March 23, 2023

If there’s a higher education issue that’s been bothering you and could be addressed through improved regulations, now is your opportunity to speak your mind.

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

In the announcement, the Department said its “regulatory efforts reflect our commitment to supporting students and ensuring they can access opportunities that will help them succeed.”

The 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

The Department also invites 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.

For more information, visit the public hearings and negotiated rulemaking process links.