ED Seeks Nominations for Cash Management Negotiations
November 27, 2013
The Department of Education is poised to establish another negotiated rulemaking committee, this time to redraft regulations on cash management. The committee will focus on use of debit cards, the handling of credit balances, protecting against fraud, state authorization for distance education and foreign locations of U.S. institutions, and lending criteria for PLUS loans, plus several other topics. On November 20, ED published a request for nominations for negotiators to represent various stakeholders. The Program Integrity and Improvements team is scheduled to hold three three-day meetings in February, March, and April of 2014.
ED announced its intention to conduct these negotiations in May 2012, and again in April 2013. The initial notice focused more heavily on fraud issues. The November notice narrows the scope to considering whether the cash management rules provide "opportunities to deter fraud and otherwise ensure proper use of title IV funds within the context of current technologies." In the meantime, consumer groups, the Consumer Financial Protection Board, and ED have become more interested in issues related to the disbursement of Title IV credit balances, including institutions' use of third-party servicers to help process payments and other arrangements between institutions and financial institutions that, critics argue, may disadvantage students.
The Higher Education Act requires ED to conduct formal negotiated rulemaking sessions, often known as "neg reg," for any additions or changes to the Title IV regulations governing the federal financial aid programs. A consensus model is used: If all parties at the table agree to the final draft, ED is bound to formally propose the regulations as drafted. The public still has the opportunity to comment on the proposed rules. Other statutory provisions require ED to issue final regulations by November 1 in order for the rules to take effect the following July. As a result, July 2015 is the earliest that changes to the cash management regulations would take effect.
The deadline for nominations is December 20. NACUBO will nominate several individuals to represent its members at the negotiating table.
Other Negotiations Underway
This is the third negotiated rulemaking effort ED has undertaken this year. A committee working on changes to the contentious gainful employment rules, scheduled to complete its deliberations in November, found that more time was needed. A final one-day session is being planned for December. In addition, a new committee was recently selected to tackle campus security regulations. Beginning in January, that team will primarily be tasked with drafting regulations to implement the provisions of the newly reauthorized Violence Against Women Act that pertain to colleges and universities.
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