October 6, 2021
The Honorable Patty Murray
The Honorable Richard Burr
Committee on Health, Education, Work and Pensions
United States Senate
The Honorable Robert C. “Bobby” Scott
The Honorable Virginie Foxx
Education and Labor Commission
House of Representatives
Topic: Ministry of Education: full and permanent discharge of loans under Title IV of the Law on Higher Education
In accordance with Section 801 (a) (2) (A) of Title 5, United States Code, this is our report on a major rule promulgated by the Department of Education (Department) titled “Total and Permanent Discharge of Loans in under Title IV of the Law on Higher Education ”(RIN: 1840-AD48). We received the rule on September 22, 2021. It was published in the Federal Register as final settlement on August 23, 2021. 86 Fed. Reg. 46972. The effective date is July 1, 2022.
According to the ministry, on November 26, 2019, it issued an Interim Final Rule (IFR) to amend and update the regulations for the release of total and permanent disability (PDT) student loans for veterans by removing administrative burdens who could have prevented at least 20,000 totally and permanently disabled veterans from obtaining the release of their student loans. Total and permanent dissolution of loans under Title IV of the Law on Higher Education, 84 Fed. Reg. 65000. The Ministry stated that these final regulations adopt and amend the regulations set out in the IFR. The Ministry added that this regulation does not address the process of obtaining a TPD student loan discharge through the physician certification process.
Attached is our assessment of Commerce’s compliance with the procedural steps required by Section 801 (a) (1) (B) (i) through (iv) of Title 5 with respect to the rule. If you have any questions about this report or would like to contact the GAO officials responsible for the assessment work related to the purpose of the rule, please contact Shari Brewster, Deputy General Counsel, at (202) 512-6398.
Shirley A. Jones
Associate Legal Director
cc: Lynn Mahaffie
Deputy Advocate General
Regulatory Services Division
Department of Education
REPORT UNDER 5 USC § 801 (a) (2) (A) ON A MAJOR RULE
ISSUED BY THE
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
“TOTAL AND PERMANENT WAIVER OF LOANS
IN TITLE IV OF THE HIGHER EDUCATION ACT ”
(i) Cost-benefit analysis
According to the Ministry of Education (Department), veterans and recipients of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and / or Supplementary Security Income (SSI) benefits who are entitled to a waiver of Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) will benefit from these final settlements. The department said eligible veterans and recipients of SSDI and / or SSI benefits will be relieved of the financial burden associated with federal student loans, including the stress associated with repayment or defaults and potential collections. The Ministry also said the final rule should allow for a faster and more efficient process and more qualified borrowers receiving the discharge to which they are legally entitled. The Ministry added that the burden of paperwork will be reduced since no application will be required for borrowers eligible for automatic TPD discharge. The Department estimated that the Interim Final Rule (IFR) and these final regulations will have a net federal fiscal impact on the 2022-2031 loan cohorts of $ 13.3 billion in spending and a change from previous cohorts of $ 20.9 billion. dollars, for a total net impact of $ 34.1 billion.
(ii) Agency actions relating to the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), 5 USC §§ 603-605, 607 and 609
The Secretary of Education has certified that this final rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.
(iii) Agency Actions Regarding Sections 202-205 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act 1995, 2 USC §§ 1532-1535
In its brief, the Department indicated that it had not prepared an analysis of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.
(iv) Other relevant information or requirements under laws and decrees
Administrative Procedure Act, 5 USC §§ 551 et seq.
On November 26, 2019, the Department issued an IFR with a request for public comment. 84 Fed. Reg. 65000. The Ministry said it had received 18 comments. The Ministry also stated that this final rule includes changes from the IFR. The Ministry added that it had not addressed minor and non-substantial changes or recommended changes that are not authorized by law.
Red Tape Reduction Act (PRA), 44 USC §§ 3501-3520
The Ministry has stated that this final rule contains information collection requirements. The ministry also said it had submitted a copy of the information collection requirements to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review. According to the ministry, the rule does not impose any new information collection burden and the OMB previously approved the information collection requirements under OMB control number 1845-0065. The Ministry added that the forms that are part of this information collection do not change due to the rule. The Ministry indicated that it was revising the estimate of the total burden for collecting information associated with OMB control number 1845-0065 to 221,629 respondents, 221,629 responses and 110,814 hours.
Legal authorization of the rule
The Ministry promulgated this final rule in accordance with Articles 1070g, 1071-1087-4, 1087a et seq.., and 1087aa-1087hh of Title 20, United States Code and Public Law 111-256.
Executive Decree No. 12866 (Planning and Revision of Regulations)
The Department has determined that this final rule, combined with the IFR, is economically significant under the order.
Executive Decree No. 13132 (Federalism)
In its brief, the Department indicated that it had not prepared an analysis of the federal implications, if any, of this final rule.