Beginning Tuesday January 15, following a day and a half of weather delay, the Department of Education initiated negotiated rulemaking sessions covering a considerable number of issues important to UPCEA and its membership. Meetings will continue through the months of February and conclude in March. Among the issues being discussed include, but is not limited to:

  • State authorization
  • Regular and substantive interaction
  • Definition of “credit hour”
  • Discussion of EQUIP-style programmatic delivery by third-party providers
  • Barriers to innovation
  • Direct assessment + competency-based programs
  • Faith based entities taking part in title IV/HEA programs

The department has decided to split this rulemaking session into one main committee regarding “Accreditation and Innovation”, and three topic-based subcommittees: the Distance Learning and Educational Innovation Subcommittee; the Faith-Based Entities Subcommittee; and the TEACH Grants Subcommittee. The Department has also aligned the rulemaking topics into three “buckets” which align with these subcommittees. The most consequential and in-depth bucket will fall to the Distance Learning and Educational Innovation subcommittee, as they are tasked with covering important and weighty items like state authorization, regular and substantive interaction, definitions of credit hour, and accreditation, among others. The Department has provided recommendations for how they would like to see the committee change these regulations, and those recommendations can be accessed below. UPCEA encourages our members to weigh in and follow these sessions and reach out to the negotiators (list found here) who represent your constituency group, and let them know your thoughts on these regulatory developments.
 
Main Negotiated Rulemaking Site from the Department. For more information and access to the live streams, click here.

Click here to access a list of the negotiators.


Materials handed out by the Department prior to the negotiated rulemaking session 1:

  • Agenda  MS Word 
  • Draft Protocols  MS Word 
  • 602 Accreditation  MS Word 
  • 654 Robert C Byrd Program  MS Word 
  • 668 Student Assistance General Provisions  MS Word
  • 686 TEACH Grant Program  MS Word 
  • Religious Inclusion in Title IV Grant Making  MS Word
  • Summary 600 Institutional Eligibility  MS Word 
  • Summary 602 Accreditation  MS Word 
  • Summary 654 Robert C Byrd Honors Scholarship Program  MS Word 
  • Summary 668 Student Assistance General Provisions  MS Word 
  • Summary 686 TEACH Grants  MS Word 
  • Summary Religious Inclusion  MS Word 
  • 600 Institutional Eligibility  MS Word 
  • Faith-Based Entities Subcommittee Overview  MS Word 
  • Faith-Based Entities Subcommittee Memorandum  PDF 
  • Faith-Based Entities Subcommittee Opinion

 


Full Schedule of Rulemaking Committee/Subcommittee Meetings:

Accreditation and Innovation (Main Committee)
Live streaming available on: edstream.ed.gov

Session 1: January 14-16, 2019

The U.S. Department of Education
Barnard Auditorium
400 Maryland Ave. SW
Washington, DC 20202

Session 2: February 19-22, 2019

The U.S. Department of Education
Potomac Center Plaza (UCP) Auditorium 
550 12th St. SW
Washington, DC 20202

Session 3: March 25-28, 2019

The U.S. Department of Education
Barnard Auditorium
400 Maryland Ave. SW
Washington, DC 20202

The Accreditation and Innovation Committee meetings are open to the public to attend in person. The committee meetings will also be made available to the public through a Department-provided livestream accessible from edstream.ed.gov.

 

Distance Learning and Educational Innovation Subcommittee

Session 1: January 17-18, 2019

Session 2: February 12-13, 2019

Session 3: March 11-12, 2019

 

TEACH Grants Subcommittee

Session 1: January 17-18, 2019

Session 2: February 12-13, 2019

Session 3: March 11-12, 2019

 

Faith-Based Entities Subcommittee

Session 1: January 17-18, 2019

Session 2: February 12-13, 2019

Session 3: March 11-12, 2019

 

The  Subcommittee meetings are not open to the public to attend in person. The subcommittee meetings will be made available to the public through a Department-provided livestream.

Higher education groups request exemption for Title IV student aid and international students

​UPCEA today joined over 150,000 groups and individuals submitting comments on the Trump administration’s proposal​ to overhaul how the government evaluates whether a would-be immigrant is “not likely to be a public charge”—that is, not likely to use public benefits such as food stamps or Medicaid, a requirement of many visa categories and green card applications.

The administration’s proposed new definition would require an extended investigation into an immigrant’s history and job prospects, and give wide-ranging discretion to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to reject an immigrant’s application for admission or for an extension or change of status, as well as reject applications from non-immigrants such as international students seeking student visas.

At issue is how the government looks at public benefits an immigrant has already used or is likely to use. While only cash benefits are considered right now, the new approach would include Medicaid, SNAP (food stamps), Section 8 and other housing benefits, and Medicare Part D subsidies for low-income earners.

In comments submitted on behalf of UPCEA and 30 other higher education associations, ACE expressed concern over how the proposed change would impact American students with immigrant family members as well as international students, including graduate and professional students who upon graduation may become legally employed in the United States.

While the associations are “deeply troubled” that the scope of the definition will include programs like SNAP and Medicaid, their comments focused on Title IV federal student aid programs and international students on F-1 and J-1 visas.

“Under current law, federal student aid is only available to U.S. citizens or green card holders, with very few exceptions. Nevertheless, we have heard anecdotal reports of students who are U.S. citizens turning down financial aid packages because they are concerned that receiving educational assistance may adversely impact their non-U.S. citizen family members’ applications for admission or legal residency,” the groups wrote.

Although Title IV programs are not included in the definition, the associations are asking that they be specifically excluded to help curb a potential chilling effect on first-generation American college students.

On the international student and scholar issue, the groups believe the expansion of public charge to apply to non-immigrants, including F-1 students, J-1 exchange visitors, and H-1B specialty workers, will create further delays in visa processing and discourage international students and scholars from coming to the United States, exacerbating a downward trend in international student enrollment at American colleges and universities. They are also asking for F-1 and J-1 student and exchange visitors to be explicitly excluded.

To read the full letter, click here​.

​Shortly before the November election, word leaked that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) was considering developing a definition of “sex” that would, in effect, maintain that an individual’s sex was determined at birth and was unchangeable.

In a letter​ last week, UPCEA, along with ACE and 27 other higher education associations, urged HHS not to pursue this process, arguing that such a definition is unnecessary and bound to cause fear and confusion, and would exclude the identities of numerous faculty, staff, and students already acknowledged by colleges and universities.

Among the associations’ primary concerns is that the approach HHS is contemplating could result in some individuals on campus being perceived as less equal and entitled to fewer rights and processes than their peers.

In particular, many institutions have chosen to embrace transgender and gender non-binary individuals and have tailored their policies in ways that go beyond their legal obligations but are unquestionably permissible under federal, state, and local laws.

“In the simplest terms, we believe that higher education and the students we educate are not served by a federal definition that limits or restricts the identity of an individual,” the groups wrote. “While all campuses differ in their specific approaches, it is important to recognize that they are best suited to determine how they serve their students, consistent with the law.”

Read the full letter.

Following their request for input on a wide-ranging set of topics to be placed into a single negotiated rulemaking session, the Department has formally announced their intent to hold sessions in January, February, and March related to these issues. The department has decided to split this rulemaking session into one main committee regarding “Accreditation and Innovation”, and three topic-based subcommittees: the Distance Learning and Educational Innovation Subcommittee; the Faith-Based Entities Subcommittee; and the TEACH Grants Subcommittee. Individuals are encouraged to submit their nominations for negotiators no later than November 15th to negregnominations@ed.gov.

Click here for more information.

UPCEA recently commented on the vast undertaking of the rulemaking committee that was proposed by the Department of Education. We find that the proposed depth and breadth of the topics, and the amount of time provided to the committee, coupled with the complexity of those topics and the limited amount of seats at the table to be substantial. We believe this undertaking may be too weighty to truly seeking solutions to these complicated issues. A lack of consensus, as the Department knows, will default to the Department’s rewriting of the rules. Our first major recommendation would be that you break apart many or all of these 12 major issues into their own negotiated rulemaking committees, to provide the proper expertise, and deep analysis, time, and conversations that these complex and sensitive issues require.

Placing careful attention on protecting students from predatory practices should be the goal of many of the changes that are being considered, combined with protecting institutional autonomy and encouraging educational access and quality.

Read our full comments here.

UPCEA, along with ACE and 20 other higher education groups sent comments to the Department of Education (ED) on the department’s proposal to rescind existing Gainful Employment regulations. 

We oppose the Department’s proposal to rescind, instead of revise, the existing gainful employment regulations, and do not believe that simply replacing them with additional disclosures on the College Scorecard at some point in the future serves the interests of students, institutions, or the public. While data and transparency are useful tools and have the potential to improve the higher education marketplace, they are not a substitute for the sanctions provided by the gainful employment rule.

Read the full letter. 

The Department of Education has announced a negotiated rulemaking committee to prepare regulations for a wide-range of issues pertinent to UPCEA member institutions. The extremely wide range of topics to be discussed include, but is not limited to:

  • State authorization
  • Regular and substantive interaction
  • Definition of “credit hour”
  • Discussion of EQUIP-style programmatic delivery by third-party providers
  • Barriers to innovation
  • Direct assessment + competency-based programs
  • Faith based entities taking part in title IV/HEA programs

The Department plans to also establish two subcommittees for this set of work. The first subcommittee will focus on proposed regulations related to direct assessment programs/competency-based education. The second subcommittee would be focusing on the eligibility of faith-based entities to participate in title IV, HEA programs.

The Department plans to hold three public hearings for interested parties. Those hearings will be held:

September 6, 2018 – Washington, DC
September 11, 2018 – New Orleans, LA
September 13, 2018 – Sturtevant, WI

UPCEA plans to attend the Washington DC meeting.

Public comments are sought and the deadline to submit is September 14, 2018. We encourage you as individuals, and through your institution, to submit comments. To submit a formal comment for this negotiated rulemaking committee, or to weigh in on the topics they are discussing, click here.

For the full announcement from ED, click here

 

The Department of Education through Secretary Betsy DeVos plans to end the regulations which required for-profit and vocational schools to provide “gainful employment” to the students that move through their programs. The regulation was one of the defining for-profit student consumer safeguards put into place by the Obama administration. The rules would cut off federal student loans to colleges if data showed that their graduates did not earn enough money from a decent job. The regulations also required schools to notify whether they had met these standards in promotional marketing to prospective learners.

The current administration’s plan includes holding institutions accountable through a proposed federal database, or utilizing the existing data and information for the College Scorecard.

As we notified you of a few weeks ago, the Department of Education is seeking to delay the implementation of regulations relating to State authorization that are to go into effect June 1 of this year. The main reasons for the delay were concerns around disclosure issues and student residence for distance education programs and how those students and institutions may interact with states during a complaint process. The Department has asked for input on this delay, and has provided a deadline of June 11th for input.

Click here to read more and submit a formal comment.

UPCEA joined with ACE and 32 other organizations to thank Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA) and other representatives who supported H.Res. 774, thanking them for taking action to provide a permanent solution for Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients.

The resolution uses a House rule known as “Queen of the Hill” to hold votes on four different immigration bills, several of which include a long-term fix for Dreamers.

Click here to read the full letter.