Negotiated Rulemaking

Negotiated rulemaking is a process in which a governmental agency forms a committee with representatives of various interested parties ​to ​​negotiate the ​terms of a proposed rule. ​The goal of a negotiated rulemaking proceeding is to build consensus on regulations before notice and comment rulemaking procedures.

​If the stakeholders on the committee reach consensus on the content of the rule and make a recommendation, the final rule, when issued, is much more likely to be implemented without costly legal challenges or delays. If, however, the negotiated rulemaking committee does not reach consensus, the federal agency may submit their own final draft of the regulation.


Negotiated Rulemaking for 2018-2019

Accreditation and Innovation Negotiated Rulemaking

On July 31, 2018, the U.S. Education Department announced a new round of negotiated rulemaking on more than a dozen topics. The rulemaking panel—consisting largely of accrediting agencies, college groups, financial aid administrators, and student representatives—reached consensus in April 2019 on a wide range of proposals. The regulatory packages impact federal rules governing college accreditation, state approval of online colleges, definition of a credit hour, religious institutions, competency-based education, and TEACH grants, among other issues.

Final rules governing Distance Education and Innovation and TEACH Grants & Faith-Based Entities take effect July 1, 2021, but the department said institutions may voluntarily implement any or all provisions upon publication in the Federal Register.

Final rules governing Accreditation & State Authorization took effect July 1, 2020.


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AACRAO nominated Board President Dr. Tina Falkner to serve on the committee as a representative of the association. Dr. Falkner, Director of the Office of Student Finance at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, was selected and will serve as an alternate on the Accreditation and Innovation Negotiated Rulemaking Committee, representing 4-year public institutions. 

Dr. Falkner has over 25 years of experience at higher education institutions. Her extensive knowledge of student financial aid issues and student education records policies will be an asset to the committee, particularly with regard to distance learning, educational innovation, and institutional policies concerning the credit hour.

Committee and Subcommittee Members