May 25, 2010

Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grant Program

Proposed Rule
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Additional details
Agency
Department of Education
Regulatory Identification Number
1840-AC93
Agency Name
Department of Education
Rule Publication Date
03/21/2008

RULE SUMMARY

The Secretary proposes to amend title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations to establish regulations for the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program.

METHODOLOGY

There are twelve criteria within our evaluation within three broad categories: Openness, Analysis and Use. For each criterion, the evaluators assign a score ranging from 0 (no useful content) to 5 (comprehensive analysis with potential best practices). Thus, each analysis has the opportunity to earn between 0 and 60 points.

Criterion Score

Openness

1. How easily were the RIA , the proposed rule, and any supplementary materials found online?
The RIA is in the proposed rule, which can be found on the department's website. There is no intuitive set of links from the home page, but a search on "teach grant notice of proposed rule" turns up a link to a page on the rulemaking that includes a direct link to the NPRM. The proposed rule is also available on regulations.gov.
5/5
2. How verifiable are the data used in the analysis?
Input data are asserted, and analysis mentions many of the agencies the data came from but does not provide source documents for most data. Lists of data sources was given at the end of the RIA but it does not include which sources are used for which data.
1/5
3. How verifiable are the models and assumptions used in the analysis?
The analysis says it used surveys and studies but doesn't specify which or really explain the model used. The principal model used for calculating cost to federal government is OMB's credit subsidy calculator. This is presumably available to someone who knows where to look for it. No other behavioral models are used to estimate effects.
2/5
4. Was the analysis comprehensible to an informed layperson?
Though result is clear, how it got there is not completely clear.
2/5

Analysis

5. How well does the analysis identify the desired outcomes and demonstrate that the regulation will achieve them?
1/5
Does the analysis clearly identify ultimate outcomes that affect citizens’ quality of life?
The intermediate outcome is clear: more qualified teachers in low-income schools. However, the ultimate outcome of improved educational results is not articulated.
2/5
Does the analysis identify how these outcomes are to be measured?
The analysis measures the use and completion rate of the program. Via the cost analysis, it estimates how many students will fulfill their service obligation.
3/5
Does the analysis provide a coherent and testable theory showing how the regulation will produce the desired outcomes?
The underlying assumption is that we will get more highly qualified teachers into low-income schools if they have a chance to get loans forgiven. This is asserted with no discussion of how the program will lead to a marginal increase.
1/5
Does the analysis present credible empirical support for the theory?
The analysis does not present empirical support for assuming that loan forgiveness will lead any given number of graduates to choose careers in low-income schools.
1/5
Does the analysis adequately assess uncertainty about the outcomes?
The analysis does not address this topic.
0/5
6. How well does the analysis identify and demonstrate the existence of a market failure or other systemic problem the regulation is supposed to solve?
1/5
Does the analysis identify a market failure or other systemic problem?
The analysis identifies teacher "shortage" in low-income schools but offers no explanation why.
1/5
Does the analysis outline a coherent and testable theory that explains why the problem (associated with the outcome above) is systemic rather than anecdotal?
The analysis does not provide a coherent theory explaining the teacher "shortage."
0/5
Does the analysis present credible empirical support for the theory?
The analysis presents one citation to some studies that apparently show that math, science, and special education are high turnover fields. It is not clear how "high turnover" translates into "shortage."
1/5
Does the analysis adequately assess uncertainty about the existence or size of the problem?
The analysis does not address this topic.
0/5
7. How well does the analysis assess the effectiveness of alternative approaches?
1/5
Does the analysis enumerate other alternatives to address the problem?
It notes a few small tweaks and talks about differing definitions and wording that could have been used in the regulation. The analysis does not deal with any actual alternatives to the rule.
1/5
Is the range of alternatives considered narrow (e.g., some exemptions to a regulation) or broad (e.g., performance-based regulation vs. command and control, market mechanisms, nonbinding guidance, information disclosure, addressing any government failures that caused the original problem)?
Very narrow; e.g., can education schools provide counseling to grant recipients via Internet or must they do it in person?
1/5
Does the analysis evaluate how alternative approaches would affect the amount of the outcome achieved?
When alternative discussion shows sensitivity to regulatory analysis at all, it seems to show that the department chose alternatives it believed to be lower burden but equally effective.
1/5
Does the analysis adequately address the baseline? That is, what the state of the world is likely to be in the absence of federal intervention not just now but in the future?
The analysis asserts that it reflects pre-statutory baseline. It is not clear whether the analysis took into account how many grant recipients would have taught in low-income schools if they had not received grants. The RIA doesn't show the calculations or really any detail on costs and benefits and how they vary under the baseline.
1/5
8. How well does the analysis assess costs and benefits?
1/5
Does the analysis identify and quantify incremental costs of all alternatives considered?
The analysis calculates subsidy costs of the option chosen.
2/5
Does the analysis identify all expenditures likely to arise as a result of the regulation?
It appears to identify all federal grant expenditures, but no other costs.
2/5
Does the analysis identify how the regulation would likely affect the prices of goods and services?
The analysis does not address this topic.
0/5
Does the analysis examine costs that stem from changes in human behavior as consumers and producers respond to the regulation?
The analysis states how demand for the program will grow and reach a steady state in 2011 and how it should help the teacher shortage problem, but it provides no other analysis.
1/5
If costs are uncertain, does the analysis present a range of estimates and/or perform a sensitivity analysis?
The analysis does not address this topic.
0/5
Does the analysis identify the alternative that maximizes net benefits?
This is not possible because the RIA calculates only federal outlays.
0/5
Does the analysis identify the cost-effectiveness of each alternative considered?
This is not possible because the RIA calculates only federal outlays.
0/5
Does the analysis identify all parties who would bear costs and assess the incidence of costs?
The analysis identifies the federal government, students, and schools.
1/5
Does the analysis identify all parties who would receive benefits and assess the incidence of benefits?
The grant program is a transfer from taxpayers to students, but there is no estimate of effect on ultimate beneficiaries.
1/5

Use

9. Does the proposed rule or the RIA present evidence that the agency used the analysis?
Analysis estimated the costs after a negotiated rulemaking designed the rule. There are some suggestions that cost considerations may have affected a few small tweaks.
3/5
10. Did the agency maximize net benefits or explain why it chose another alternative?
Several of the alternatives considered appear to have been discarded because they imposed a greater burden.
1/5
11. Does the proposed rule establish measures and goals that can be used to track the regulation's results in the future?
Analysis mentions that OMB's Credit Subsidy Calculator will be used to retrospectively estimate prior years' costs beginning in FY 2009. This could be interpreted as a commitment to measure one major outcome, though the department did not explicitly articulate a target level. The department could track participation, completion, etc.
2/5
12. Did the agency indicate what data it will use to assess the regulation's performance in the future and establish provisions for doing so?
The department committed to gathering data on federal budget costs, but not benefits.
3/5
Total 23 / 60