Today, the U.S. Department of Education (Department) finalized regulations that will protect student borrowers, hold higher education institutions accountable and provide financial protections to taxpayers. The Institutional Accountability regulations, posted on the Department’s website today, come after more than two years of deliberations, public hearings, negotiated rulemaking with a wide variety of higher education stakeholders and careful consideration of tens of thousands of public comments.
The regulations revise the Federal standard for adjudicating borrower defenses to repayment claims for Federal student loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2020, and provide for actions the Secretary may take to collect from schools the amount of financial loss due to successful borrower defense to repayment loan discharges.
The Department also amends regulations regarding pre-dispute arbitration agreements or class action waivers as a condition of enrollment and requires institutions to include information regarding the school's internal dispute resolution and arbitration processes as part of in the borrower's entrance counseling.
We amend the Student Assistance General Provisions regulations to establish the conditions or events that have or may have an adverse, material effect on an institution's financial condition and which warrant financial protection for the Department, update the definitions of terms used to calculate an institution's composite score to conform with changes in certain accounting standards, and account for leases and long-term debt. Finally, we amend the loan discharge provisions in the Direct Loan Program.
The regulations will take effect July 1, 2020; however, the regulations relating to certain financial responsibility provisions will be available for immediate implementation once they are officially published in the Federal Register.
The unofficial version of the regulations and a summary can be found at: https://www2.ed.gov/policy/highered/reg/hearulemaking/2017/borrowerdefense.html