SARA Call To Action

U.S. Department of Education 2023-2024 Negotiated Rulemaking

 
February 6, 2024 Update: Webinar Information

NC-SARA will be hosting an informational webinar focused on updates related to the U.S. Department of Education negotiated rulemaking.

Date: Thursday, March 21, 2024
Time: 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM (Mountain Time)


Department of Education Negotiated Rulemaking - Spring 2024 Update for the SARA Community

In this webinar, representatives from the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (SARA) community will review the implications for SARA-participating institutions as well as SARA member states and territories of the 2021-2022 negotiated rulemaking final regulations published by the U. S. Department of Education in October 2023, with a particular focus on certification procedures related to institutional closure. Presenters will also provide an update on the 2023-2024 negotiated rulemaking, again focusing on topics that may have the greatest impact on SARA. 

LINK TO REGISTER

_________________________________
 
January 29, 2024 Update: NC-SARA Board Chair Submits Proposal Related to Complaint Systems and Governance in State Authorization

NC-SARA Board Chair Dr. Robert Anderson has submitted a proposal to the U.S. Department of Education related to Issue Paper 2: State Authorization addressing complaint systems and governance in state authorization. Dr. Anderson submitted the proposal to negotiators on the Program Integrity and Institutional Quality Committee following Session 1. The committee will meet for Session 2 February 5 – 8, 2024. Dr. Anderson serves as an alternate negotiator on the committee.

We will continue to post updates on our Call to Action page as the negotiated rulemaking process continues. Information is also available on the U.S. Department of Education website.

_________________________________

January 8, 2024 Update: SARA Concerns Related to Issue Paper 2: State Authorization in 2023-2024 Negotiated Rulemaking

The U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) 2023-2024 negotiated rulemaking process includes six issues. Although many could have implications for distance education, NC-SARA is primarily focused on the topic of state authorization. ED has released initial proposed regulatory language in Issue Paper 2: State Authorization. The proposed language includes two items: the first would require additional transparency around student complaints and the second would limit eligibility for membership on the board overseeing a state authorization reciprocity agreement.

NC-SARA’s high-level takeaways include:

  1. We are supportive of any efforts to improve transparency and collaboration in ways that benefit students.
  2. We believe that states must lead “an agreement among states” such as SARA.
  3. There are important principles to consider in these discussions about the appropriate roles and relationships between the federal government and states.

NC-SARA staff has drafted a summary of the proposed language related to student complaints and board membership; that document includes key points related to SARA as well as a list of our primary concerns about the proposed language.

We will continue to post updates on our Call to Action page as the negotiated rulemaking process continues. Information is also available on the U.S. Department of Education website.

_________________________________

January 4, 2024 Update: Negotiated Rulemaking 2023-2024: Program Integrity and Institutional Quality Issue Papers Released and Negotiators Selected

The U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) 2023-2024 Program Integrity and Institutional Quality Rulemaking agenda includes issues addressing accreditation, state authorization, and the definition of distance education. The first set of issue papers has been released and negotiators have been selected. Dr. Robert Anderson, President of SHEEO and Chair of the NC-SARA Board, has been selected as an alternate for this session of negotiated rulemaking. More information about the forthcoming session and the full list of negotiators can be found on the U.S. Department of Education website.
 
NC-SARA will focus its attention on Program Integrity and Institutional Quality Rulemaking proposals that address reciprocity. After our initial review of the state authorization issue paper, first impressions include:

  • ED has concerns about who is selected to serve on the NC-SARA Board.
  • ED would like to revise the SARA Student Complaint Process by mandating that reciprocity agreements require institutions to have a system to report student complaints to the state in which the student resides.

Please note that the first set of issue papers are considered a starting point for the negotiators. As the negotiating sessions get underway, we will be listening to the negotiations, monitoring any further issue papers that are released, and keeping the SARA community informed.

For more information on how to stay informed and to offer public comment during the negotiated rulemaking session, see below.

Information below from the U.S. Department of Education
 
Register to Observe:
Members of the public may observe the committee meetings; the committee will meet virtually for three sessions on the following dates:
 
Session 1: January 8–11, 2024
Session 2: February 5–8, 2024
Session 3: March 4–7, 2024
 
Session times will be from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. ET and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. ET, with a public comment period from approximately 3:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. ET. If you would like to observe the negotiations, please register here.

Public Comment:
At the end of each day, the committee will reserve 30 minutes for public comment. To request time to comment, please send the name of the speaker, as well as the name of the organization, if applicable, to negreghearing@ed.gov no later than 12:00 p.m. ET on the day of the meeting. ED will provide information to commenters on how and when to log in to the meeting as a speaker. ED will accommodate as many requests as possible. 

Agenda and Issue Papers for Session 1 (January 8-11):

_________________________________

December 15, 2023 Update: NC-SARA Nominates Two Individuals to Serve on U.S. Department of Education's 2024 Negotiated Rulemaking Committee

NC-SARA staff worked with the Executive Committee of the NC-SARA Board and the regional compact presidents to nominate two negotiators for the U.S. Department of Education’s 2024 negotiated rulemaking committee, which will prepare proposed regulations for federal programs authorized under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965. 

NC-SARA nominated Dr. Eduardo M. Ochoa to represent public four-year institutions and Dr. Robert Anderson to represent state officials, including state higher education executive officers, state authorizing agencies, and state regulators of higher education institutions.

The Negotiated Rulemaking Committee will meet virtually for three sessions on the following dates:

  • Session 1: January 8–11, 2024
  • Session 2: February 5–8, 2024
  • Session 3: March 4–7, 2024

The U.S. Department of Education will provide additional information to those selected to serve as negotiators and will then post the full list of negotiators on the Department website.

_________________________________

December 6, 2023 Update: Announcement of Negotiated Rulemaking 2024

The Office of Postsecondary Education of the United States Department of Education (USDE) has requested nominations from stakeholders for a negotiated rulemaking committee. All negotiating sessions will be virtual, and the public will be permitted to observe the meetings. USDE will reserve 30 minutes each day for public comments. The committee will meet for three sessions on the following dates:

  • Session 1: January 8-11, 2024
  • Session 2: February 5-8, 2024
  • Session 3: March 4-7, 2024

Sessions will run from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern Time, with a public comment period from approximately 3:30 p.m. to 4 p.m., Eastern Time.

The six issues that will be addressed within the 2024 rulemaking process include:

  1. The Secretary's recognition of accreditation agencies under 34 CFR part 602 and related parts;
  2. Institution Eligibility under 34 CFR 600.2 and related to state authorization 34 CFR 600.9;
  3. Distance Education to address clock hour programs and reporting for online students;
  4. Return to Title IV funds;
  5. Cash Management;
  6. Federal TRIO Programs (a subcommittee will also be created).

The call for nominations identifies the constituencies that the USDE intends to include on the rulemaking committee. NC-SARA staff will work with the board officers and regional compact presidents to prepare a letter of nomination for a negotiator.  Nominations are due by December 13, 2023. We will share our nomination letter on the NC-SARA website after submitting it to USDE.

_________________________________

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

NC-SARA will continue to update information on this webpage. Need additional assistance or information from NC-SARA? Please email info@nc-sara.org