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 Higher Education


In January, the Biden administration released its latest regulatory agenda, outlining plans to write new rules for a wide range of higher education and student loan policies. The announcement indicates that the U.S. Education Department would hold a series of negotiated rulemaking sessions to overhaul rules governing accreditation, distance education, state authorization, and other topics. The items on the agenda include: 

This fall, the Education Department also kicked off a separate rulemaking process tackling issues related to its approach to student debt relief after President Biden's initial plan was struck down by the Supreme Court. Negotiators began their discussions in October with the goal of reaching consensus language in the coming months.


The administration's plan for another major round of rulemaking follows the two previous series of negotiations it conducted in 2021-22, which focused heavily on student loan relief programs and institutional accountability. The latest move suggests that the White House and department plan to move aggressively to continue to influence postsecondary education in the second half of President Biden's term.

Accreditation & Innovation

Negotiated Rulemaking for 2018-2019

The U.S. Education Department previously concluded its previous round of negotiated rulemaking on more than a dozen topics.

Final rules governing Distance Education & Innovation and TEACH Grants & Faith-Based Entities took effect July 1, 2021.

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

AACRAO Past President Dr. Tina Falkner, Director of the Office of Student Finance at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, served as an alternate on the Accreditation and Innovation Negotiated Rulemaking Committee, representing 4-year public institutions.

Committee and Subcommittee Members


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