Under the Higher Education Act (HEA), the Department of Education is required to use a process known as negotiated rulemaking to develop all of its regulations governing the nation’s student loan programs. Negotiated rulemaking provides a forum for government and stakeholder representatives to engage in complex negotiations.
Over the course of two decades, Susan Podziba, often with Howard S. Bellman, has assessed, designed and mediated the negotiations of eighteen Department of Education regulation-setting processes. These have included negotiated rulemakings to establish the Direct Loan program and continued implementation of the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) and Perkins Loan programs; establish the GEAR UP grant program; and develop accreditation rules.
Negotiated rulemaking, sometimes referred to as regulatory negotiations (or reg neg), is a process used to create regulations in which representatives of a sponsoring government agency, relevant stakeholders and the public work together to develop a consensus recommendation for the actual text of a proposed rule. A critical element of negotiated rulemaking is the forum it provides for government and stakeholder representatives to engage in complex negotiations.
The Department of Education negotiated rulemaking processes included government officials and representatives of students, legal aid, bankers, guaranty agencies, private colleges and universities, public colleges and universities, land grant colleges, university presidents, community colleges, proprietary and trade schools, historically black colleges and universities, tribal colleges, and publicly traded colleges. Stakeholders worked through complexities, integrated differing perspectives, and clarified issues to develop rules that have met shared public goals and limited unintended consequences.
Negotiations resulted in consensus regulations to implement the Federal Family Education Loan, Direct Loan, and Perkins Programs as required under the Higher Education Act of 1965 as amended in 1992, 1998, 2005, 2008, Upping the Effectiveness of Our Federal Student Aid Programs (FED UP); Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP); Accreditation; and Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE).