20 U.S.C. § 1098a : US Code - Section 1098A: Regional meetings and negotiated rulemaking

    (a) Meetings
      (1) In general
        The Secretary shall obtain public involvement in the
      development of proposed regulations for this subchapter and part
      C of subchapter I of chapter 34 of title 42. The Secretary shall
      obtain the advice of and recommendations from individuals and
      representatives of the groups involved in student financial
      assistance programs under this subchapter and part C of
      subchapter I of chapter 34 of title 42, such as students, legal
      assistance organizations that represent students, institutions of
      higher education, State student grant agencies, guaranty
      agencies, lenders, secondary markets, loan servicers, guaranty
      agency servicers, and collection agencies.
      (2) Issues
        The Secretary shall provide for a comprehensive discussion and
      exchange of information concerning the implementation of this
      subchapter and part C of subchapter I of chapter 34 of title 42
      through such mechanisms as regional meetings and electronic
      exchanges of information. The Secretary shall take into account
      the information received through such mechanisms in the
      development of proposed regulations and shall publish a summary
      of such information in the Federal Register together with such
      proposed regulations.
    (b) Draft regulations
      (1) In general
        After obtaining the advice and recommendations described in
      subsection (a)(1) of this section and before publishing proposed
      regulations in the Federal Register, the Secretary shall prepare
      draft regulations implementing this subchapter and part C of
      subchapter I of chapter 34 of title 42 and shall submit such
      regulations to a negotiated rulemaking process. Participants in
      the negotiations process shall be chosen by the Secretary from
      individuals nominated by groups described in subsection (a)(1) of
      this section, and shall include both representatives of such
      groups from Washington, D.C., and industry participants. The
      Secretary shall select individuals with demonstrated expertise or
      experience in the relevant subjects under negotiation, reflecting
      the diversity in the industry, representing both large and small
      participants, as well as individuals serving local areas and
      national markets. The negotiation process shall be conducted in a
      timely manner in order that the final regulations may be issued
      by the Secretary within the 360-day period described in section
      1232(e) of this title.
      (2) Expansion of negotiated rulemaking
        All regulations pertaining to this subchapter and part C of
      subchapter I of chapter 34 of title 42 that are promulgated after
      October 7, 1998, shall be subject to a negotiated rulemaking
      (including the selection of the issues to be negotiated), unless
      the Secretary determines that applying such a requirement with
      respect to given regulations is impracticable, unnecessary, or
      contrary to the public interest (within the meaning of section
      553(b)(3)(B) of title 5), and publishes the basis for such
      determination in the Federal Register at the same time as the
      proposed regulations in question are first published. All
      published proposed regulations shall conform to agreements
      resulting from such negotiated rulemaking unless the Secretary
      reopens the negotiated rulemaking process or provides a written
      explanation to the participants in that process why the Secretary
      has decided to depart from such agreements. Such negotiated
      rulemaking shall be conducted in accordance with the provisions
      of paragraph (1), and the Secretary shall ensure that a clear and
      reliable record of agreements reached during the negotiations
      process is maintained.
    (c) Applicability of Federal Advisory Committee Act
      The Federal Advisory Committee Act shall not apply to activities
    carried out under this section.
    (d) Authorization of appropriations
      There are authorized to be appropriated in any fiscal year or
    made available from funds appropriated to carry out this part in
    any fiscal year such sums as may be necessary to carry out the
    provisions of this section, except that if no funds are
    appropriated pursuant to this subsection, the Secretary shall make
    funds available to carry out this section from amounts appropriated
    for the operations and expenses of the Department of Education.