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Negotiated rulemaking: Decoding the Education Department’s policymaking process

Negotiated rulemaking: Decoding the Education Department’s policymaking process

Higher Ed Dive

Jeremy Bauer-Wolf
October 4, 2023
The same day in June that the U.S. Supreme Court delivered a fatal blow to President Joe Biden’s mass student loan forgiveness plan, his administration dropped its own bombshell: it wasn’t done.
U.S. Department of Education officials said they would attempt loan cancellation through another route, a regulatory proceeding known as negotiated rulemaking. For a broad contingent of the public, the two words had little meaning.
For many higher ed policy pundits, they were cause for head-banging levels of frustration.
That’s because negotiated rulemaking, to say the least, can be an intensive, prolonged process. It brings together negotiators to hash out minute policy details of potential regulations, with the goal of participants reaching consensus. If they don’t, the Education Department can issue its own rule after all.
Here, we explain how negotiated rulemaking works and how it will look in the context of the Biden administration’s newest loan cancellation effort.
What is negotiated rulemaking?
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