The Biden-Harris Administration today announced the next step in its work to open a new pathway to student debt relief by soliciting nominations for negotiators who will participate in public rulemaking negotiation sessions this Fall. The Department is seeking nominations from 14 different constituency groups for the Student Loan Relief committee, which will meet for three virtual sessions beginning October 10.
"When the Supreme Court ruled against the Biden-Harris Administration’s student debt relief plan, we did not waste a moment opening up a new pathway to debt relief," said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. "As we pursue debt relief through this process, one of the most important steps is bringing together diverse perspectives to help us craft the strongest possible regulations for borrowers. The Student Loan Relief committee will include students, borrowers, state officials, civil rights advocates, representatives from colleges and universities, and other stakeholders so we can make sure all voices are heard and the needs of borrowers are fully considered.”
These nominations are the second step in a process known as “negotiated rulemaking,” which is required under the Higher Education Act for any regulations related to the Federal student financial aid programs. This process started with a public hearing held by the Department on July 18 and a request for public comments, which solicited more than 24,000 responses. Next, negotiators selected by the Department will meet virtually on October 10-11, November 6-7, and December 11-12 to discuss ideas for regulatory reform. Sessions will be open to the public and include opportunities for public comment.
The Department is seeking negotiators representing the following categories, each of which will include a primary and alternate representative:
- Four spots for current students and student loan borrowers based upon the level of program attended. The Department is particularly interested in a variety of experiences with student loans and postsecondary education, including attending different types of institutions, receiving a Pell Grant, and borrowing a Parent PLUS loan.
- Four spots for different types of institutions of higher education, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities and minority serving institutions.
- Two spots for State officials and Attorneys General.
- Two spots for civil rights organizations and legal assistance organizations.
- One spot for a U.S. military service member or veteran.
- One spot for a representative from the Federal Family Education Loan program.
The Department will publish proposed rules for the public to comment on in the months following the conclusion of negotiations. We will then consider public comment and produce final regulations next year.
Nominations can be sent to [email protected] and must include clear information about the nominee, their constituency group, resume and experience, and contact information. Any nomination must be received by September 14, 2023. Please see an official copy of the Federal Register Notice here for additional details on requirements for nominees.
The Department will provide updated information on this negotiated rulemaking committee on an ongoing basis here.
The Biden-Harris Administration remains steadfast in its commitment to use all available tools to deliver students, borrowers, and their families the relief they are entitled to under applicable law. Overall, the Administration has approved debt relief for more than 3.4 million people and over $116 billion in loan discharges. This includes fixes to ensure that borrowers get relief promised by Congress through income-driven repayment programs, Public Service Loan Forgiveness, and discharges for borrowers with a total and permanent disability.