Last week, the U.S. Education Department wrapped up its negotiated rulemaking process on institutional and programmatic eligibility, reported Higher Ed Dive. Following three months of discussions, the committee reached consensus on two of the seven regulatory proposals, agreeing on new language for the 90/10 and ability to benefit rules.
The alteration to the 90/10 rule largely reflects a recent change in federal law. Last year, Congress passed legislation expanding the 90 percent cap on for-profit colleges' funding to include all types of federal funding, including veterans' benefits, starting in 2023. Previously, military and veterans' education benefits did not count toward that threshold despite being federal aid. The rulemaking process was tasked with carrying out those provisions and ultimately reached agreement on details of what funds counted toward that 10 percent calculation. Negotiators compromised on a plan that would allow for-profit colleges to include programs ineligible for Title IV federal student aid funding on the 10 percent side, but only if they are taught by instructors who also teach at one of their approved locations and that they hold programs at certain sites, Higher Ed Dive reported.
The changes would also place certain limitations on income-share agreements (ISAs), which have college graduates make payments for expenses such as tuition and fees through a portion of their income over a set period of time. The negotiators agreed on language that makes clear that ISAs are treated the same way as private student loans within the new 90/10 rule calculations.
The consensus language on ability to benefit rules adds student success benchmarks to ensure enough learners lacking high school degrees were successfully completing those programs, Higher Ed Dive reported.
Meanwhile, the negotiated rulemaking committee failed to reach agreement on the remaining five, more contentious issues, including rules governing financial responsibility, for-profit to non-profit conversions, gainful employment, change in ownership, and certification procedures.
Moving forward, the Education Department is now bound, with some exceptions, to move forward with the regulatory proposals on which negotiators reached consensus. However, the agency has broad power to craft its own proposals on the remaining issues when it formally proposes new regulations.
Higher Ed Dive
Higher Ed Dive