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: 


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.

The spring regulatory agenda also includes plans to issue proposed rules on a number of lingering issues discussed during those previous negotiated rulemaking processes, including ability to benefitgainful employmentfinancial responsibilitystandards of administrative capabilitycertification procedures, and income-contingent loan repayment plans

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

Call for Volunteers

Interested in public policy and regulatory issues that affect your profession? Volunteer to have a seat at the table and help influence decisions that impact your campus and the students you serve.

The U.S. Education Department in the coming months will begin to solicit nominations for negotiators to serve on the forthcoming negotiated rulemaking committee(s) to draft new higher education and student loan rules. As the regulatory topics on the agenda stand to impact AACRAO members, the association is looking for volunteers with interest and expertise in the areas of: distance education and state authorization, in particular. Additional areas of expertise may include: federal TRIO program, accreditation, R2T4, cash management, third-party servicers, and deferments and forbearances.

If selected, negotiated rulemaking committee members usually meet for three sessions at roughly monthly intervals. Each session usually lasts three days. The number of sessions, meetings in a session, length of the session meetings, and the time between sessions may vary depending on the issues being negotiated. AACRAO Government Relations staff will provide volunteers background support throughout the entire process. 

Unsure about the negotiated rulemaking process? Learn more.

Application Deadline: CLOSED

We strongly encourage AACRAO members with interest and expertise in the topics listed above to complete this brief online form to volunteer as a nominee to serve on the Education Department’s negotiated rulemaking committee(s). 


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