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Notice

Privacy Act of 1974; System of Records

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Office of Management, Department of Education.

ACTION:

Notice of a new system of records.

SUMMARY:

In accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974 (Privacy Act), 5 United States Code (U.S.C.) 552a, the Department of Education (Department) publishes this notice of a new system of records entitled “Student Loan Repayment Benefits Case Files.” The Department is implementing the Federal Government authority set forth at 5 U.S.C. 5379 to establish a program providing for repayment of federally made or insured student loans when necessary to attract or retain highly qualified individuals for employment. Subject to the requirements of law and regulation, the Department can make payments to Federal student loan holders (lenders) on behalf of an employee, thus reducing an employee's Federal student loan debt.

DATES:

The Department seeks comments on this new system of records described in this notice, in accordance with the requirements of the Privacy Act. We must receive your comments on the proposed routine uses for this system of records included in this notice on or before June 28, 2002.

The Department filed a report describing the new system of records covered by this notice with the Chair of the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, the Chair of the House Committee on Government Reform, and the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on May 23, 2002. This new system of records will become effective at the later date of: (1) The expiration of the 40-day period for OMB review on July 2, 2002 or (2) June 28, 2002, unless the system of records needs to be changed as a result of public comment or OMB review.

ADDRESSES:

Address all comments on the proposed routine uses of this system, and requests for information about this system, to Jeffrey Frank,Human Resources Group, Office of Management, U.S. Department of Education,400 Maryland Avenue, SW., Federal Office Building 6, room 2E338, Washington,DC 20202-4573. If you prefer to send your comments through the Internet, use the following address: Comments@ed.gov.

You must include the term “Student Loan Repayment” in the subject line of the electronic message.

During and after the comment period, you may inspect all comments about this notice in room 2E300, Federal Office Building 6, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., Washington, DC, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m., Start Printed Page 37412Eastern time, Monday through Friday of each week except Federal holidays.

Assistance to Individuals With Disabilities in Reviewing the Rulemaking Record

On request, we will supply an appropriate aid, such as a reader or print magnifier, to an individual with a disability who needs assistance to review the comments or other documents in the public rulemaking record for this notice. If you want to schedule an appointment for this type of aid, please contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Jeffrey Frank. Telephone: (202) 401-0539. If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), you may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339.

Individuals with disabilities may obtain this document in an alternative format (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, or computer diskette) on request to the contact person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Introduction

The Privacy Act (5 U.S.C. 552a(e)(4)) requires the Department to publish in the Federal Register this notice of new or revised systems of records managed by the Department. The Department's regulations implementing the Act are contained in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) in 34 CFR part 5b.

The Privacy Act applies to a record about an individual that is maintained in a system of records from which information is retrieved by a unique identifier associated with each individual, such as a name or social security number. The information about each individual is called a “record,” and the system, whether manual or computer-driven, is called a “system of records.” The Privacy Act requires each agency to publish notices of systems of records in the Federal Register and to prepare reports to OMB whenever the agency publishes a new or “altered” system of records.

The Student Loan Repayment authority is one of several flexibilities made available to agencies when trying to attract individuals to the Federal service, or retain highly qualified personnel. It permits agencies to repay federally insured student loans when necessary to attract or retain highly qualified personnel. This system will document requests for repayment benefits, employees who are approved to receive benefits, and the benefit amounts and service agreements specific to each individual case. Information contained in this system will be used by the Department to compile annual reports for the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) on the Department's use of the student loan repayment authority.

Electronic Access to This Document

You may view this document, as well as all other Department of Education documents published in the Federal Register, in text or Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) on the Internet at the following site: http://www.ed.gov/​legislation/​FedRegister.

To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free at this site. If you have questions about using PDF, call the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO), toll free, at 1-888-293-6498; or in the Washington, DC, area at (202) 512-1530.

Note:

The official version of this document is the document published in the Federal Register. Free Internet access to the official edition of the Federal Register and the CFR is available on GPO Access at: http://www.access.gpo.gov/​nara/​index.html.

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Dated: May 23, 2002.

William J. Leidinger,

Assistant Secretary for Management.

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For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Assistant Secretary for Management of the U.S. Department of Education publishes a notice of a new system of records to read as follows:

18-05-15

SYSTEM NAME:

Student Loan Repayment Benefits Case Files.

SECURITY CLASSIFICATION:

None.

SYSTEM LOCATION:

Human Resources Group, Office of Management, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., room 2E300, FOB-6, Washington, DC 20202-4573.

CATEGORIES OF INDIVIDUALS COVERED BY THE SYSTEM:

This system contains records and related correspondence on individuals who are being considered for student loan repayment benefits under the Department of Education's Personnel Manual Instruction 537-1 entitled “Repayment of Federal Student Loans,” as well as individuals who have been approved for and are receiving such benefits.

CATEGORIES OF RECORDS IN THE SYSTEM:

This system contains correspondence and other documents related to requests made by selecting officials or supervisors to offer student loan repayment benefits to recruit or retain highly qualified employees. This system contains: (1) Request letters from selecting official or supervisor with supporting documentation; (2) employee's (or potential employee's) names, home and work addresses, social security numbers, student loan account numbers, loan balances, repayment schedule, repayment history, and repayment status; and (3) the loan holder's name, address and telephone number.

AUTHORITY FOR MAINTENANCE OF THE SYSTEM:

The Floyd D. Spence National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2001 (Public Law 106-398); 5 U.S.C. 5379, as amended, and regulations to be codified at 5 CFR part 537.

PURPOSE(S):

These records are maintained to determine eligibility and benefits and to process requests to offer student loan repayment benefits to employees under authority set forth at 5 U.S.C. 5379. The records are used by the Department to prepare its reports for OPM, as is required by 5 CFR 537.110. The Department will also refer information from this system to loan holders for collection activities in the case of any student loan default or delinquency that becomes known to the Department in the course of determining an employee's (or potential employee's) eligibility for student loan repayment benefits because of the Department's mission responsibilities for Federal student loan programs and its role in promoting their responsible use by student borrowers.

ROUTINE USES OF RECORDS MAINTAINED IN THE SYSTEM, INCLUDING CATEGORIES OF USERS AND THE PURPOSES OF SUCH USES

The Department may disclose information contained in a record in this system of records under the routine uses listed in this system of records without the consent of the individual if the disclosure is compatible with the purposes for which the record was collected. These disclosures may be made on a case-by-case basis or, if the Department has complied with the computer matching requirements of the Privacy Act, under a computer matching agreement.

(1) Personnel Management Disclosure. The Department may disclose as a routine use to OPM any records or information in this system of records Start Printed Page 37413that OPM requests or requires pursuant to OPM's oversight and regulatory functions.

(2) Salary Offset or Debt Collection Disclosures. The Department may disclose records in this system to other Federal agencies, hearing or court officials, and present employers of an employee in order for the Department to obtain repayment, if an employee fails to complete the period of employment under a service agreement and fails to reimburse the Department the amount of any student loan repayment benefits the employee received from the Department.

(3) Disclosure to other Federal agencies. The Department may disclose records in this system to its payroll processing provider in order to calculate tax withholdings and disburse payments of student loan repayment benefits to loan holders on behalf of employees approved to receive this benefit.

(4) Disclosure to Student Lending Institutions or Loan Holders. The Department may disclose to student lending institutions or loan holders records from this system as a routine use disclosure in order to obtain information (such as the borrower's account number, original and current loan balance, repayment schedule, repayment history, and current repayment status) to allow the Department to determine an employee's or potential employee's initial and continuing eligibility for this program, to facilitate accurate payments to student loan holders on behalf of eligible employees, and to ensure the Department discontinues making student loan repayments to individuals who do not remain eligible for them during the period of the service agreement. The Department also may disclose to loan holders records from this system of records as a routine use disclosure in the event it becomes known to the Department during the course of its program eligibility determinations that an individual is past due, delinquent, or in default of a federally insured student loan so that the Department can facilitate the loan holder's collection of any past due, delinquent or defaulted student loans, because of the Department's mission responsibilities for Federal student loan programs and its role in promoting their responsible use by student borrowers.

(5) Disclosure for Use by Other Law Enforcement Agencies. The Department may disclose information to any Federal, State, local, or foreign agency or other public authority responsible for enforcing, investigating, or prosecuting violations of administrative, civil, or criminal law or regulation if that information is relevant to any enforcement, regulatory, investigative, or prosecutorial responsibility within the receiving entity's jurisdiction.

(6) Enforcement Disclosure. In the event that information in this system of records indicates, either on its face or in connection with other information, a violation or potential violation of any applicable statute, regulation, or order of a competent authority, the Department may disclose the relevant records to the appropriate agency, whether foreign, Federal, State, Tribal, or local, charged with the responsibility of investigating or prosecuting that violation or charged with enforcing or implementing the statute, executive order, rule, regulation, or order issued pursuant thereto.

(7) Litigation and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Disclosures.

(a) Introduction. In the event that one of the parties listed below is involved in litigation or ADR, or has an interest in litigation or ADR, the Department may disclose certain records to the parties described in paragraphs (b), (c) and (d) of this routine use under the conditions specified in those paragraphs:

(i) The Department, or any component of the Department; or

(ii) Any Department employee in his or her official capacity; or

(iii) Any Department employee in his or her individual capacity if the Department of Justice (DOJ) has agreed to provide or arrange for representation for the employee;

(iv) Any Department employee in his or her individual capacity where the Department requests representation for or has agreed to represent the employee; or

(v) The United States where the Department determines that the litigation is likely to affect the Department or any of its components.

(b) Disclosure to the DOJ. If the Department determines that disclosure of certain records to the DOJ is relevant and necessary to litigation or ADR, the Department may disclose those records as a routine use to the DOJ.

(c) Administrative Disclosures. If the Department determines that disclosure of certain records to an adjudicative body before which the Department is authorized to appear, an individual or entity designated by the Department or otherwise empowered to resolve or mediate disputes is relevant and necessary to litigation or ADR, the Department may disclose those records as a routine use to the adjudicative body, individual, or entity.

(d) Parties, counsels, representatives and witnesses. If the Department determines that disclosure of certain records to a party, counsel, representative or witness is relevant and necessary to litigation or ADR, the Department may disclose those records as a routine use to the party, counsel, representative or witness.

(8) Employment, Benefit, and Contracting Disclosure.

(a) For Decisions by the Department. The Department may disclose a record to a Federal, State, or local agency maintaining civil, criminal, or other relevant enforcement or other pertinent records, or to another public authority or professional organization, if necessary to obtain information relevant to a Department decision concerning the hiring or retention of an employee or other personnel action, the issuance of a security clearance, the letting of a contract, or the issuance of a license, grant, or other benefit.

(b) For Decisions by Other Public Agencies and Professional Organizations. The Department may disclose a record to a Federal, State, local, or foreign agency or other public authority or professional organization, in connection with the hiring or retention of an employee or other personnel action, the issuance of a security clearance, the reporting of an investigation of an employee, the letting of a contract, or the issuance of a license, grant, or other benefit, to the extent that the record is relevant and necessary to the receiving entity's decision on the matter.

(9) Employee Grievance, Complaint or Conduct Disclosure. The Department may disclose a record in this system of records to another agency of the Federal Government if the record is relevant to one of the following proceedings regarding a present or former employee of the Department: a complaint, a grievance, or a discipline or competence determination proceeding. The disclosure may only be made during the course of the proceeding.

(10) Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Advice Disclosure. The Department may disclose records to DOJ and OMB if the Department concludes that disclosure is desirable or necessary in determining whether particular records are required to be disclosed under the FOIA.

(11) Disclosure to the Department of Justice (DOJ). The Department may disclose records to the DOJ to the extent necessary for obtaining DOJ advice on any matter relevant to an audit, inspection, or other inquiry related to the program covered by this system.

(12) Congressional Member Disclosure. The Department may disclose records to a member of Congress from the record of an Start Printed Page 37414individual in response to an inquiry from the member made at the written request of that individual. The member's right to the information is no greater than the right of the individual who requested it.

(13) Contract Disclosure. If the Department contracts with an entity for the purposes of performing any function that requires disclosure of records in this system to employees of the contractor, the Department may disclose the records to those employees. Before entering into such a contract, the Department shall require the contractor to maintain Privacy Act safeguards as required under 5 U.S.C. 552a(m) with respect to the records in the system.

DISCLOSURE TO CONSUMER REPORTING AGENCIES:

Disclosures pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(b)(12): The Department may disclose to a consumer reporting agency information regarding a claim by the Department which is determined to be valid and overdue as follows: (1)The name, address, taxpayer identification number and other information necessary to establish the identity of the individual responsible for the claim; (2) the amount, status, and history of the claim; and (3) the program under which the claim arose. The Department may disclose the information specified in this paragraph under 5 U.S.C. 552a(b)(12) and the procedures contained in subsection 31 U.S.C. 3711(e). A consumer reporting agency to which these disclosures may be made is defined at 31 U.S.C.3701(a)(3).

POLICIES AND PRACTICES FOR STORING, RETRIEVING, ACCESSING, RETAINING AND DISPOSING OF RECORDS IN THE SYSTEM:

STORAGE:

Records are maintained in hard copy and may be retained in electronic form accessible with office automation software on a Department personal computer in offices of the Human Resources Group.

RETRIEVABILITY:

Records are retrieved by the name of the individual. SAFEGUARDS:

Hard copy records are stored in a locked metal filing cabinet, with access limited to personnel whose duties require access. Electronic records are stored on computer diskette that is secured in a locked metal filing cabinet, with access limited to personnel whose duties require access. Personal computers used to view the electronic media are password protected; passwords are changed periodically throughout the year. All physical access to the building where this system of records is maintained is controlled and monitored by security personnel who check each individual entering the building for an employee or visitor badge.

RETENTION AND DISPOSAL:

Service agreements between the Department and an employee and related supporting documents resulting in approval for program benefits will be retained for a period of three years after the employee satisfies the terms and conditions of the agreement. All other documents will be retained in accordance with the National Archives and Records Administration General Records Schedules (GRS) 1.

SYSTEM MANAGER(S) AND ADDRESS:

Director, Human Resources Group, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW, room 2E300, FOB-6, Washington, DC 20202-4573.

NOTIFICATION PROCEDURE:

If you wish to inquire whether a record exists regarding you in this system, you should contact the system manager at the address listed above. You must provide your name, name of organization, and subject matter. Your request must meet the requirements of the Department's Privacy Act regulations at 34 CFR 5b.5, including proof of identity.

RECORD ACCESS PROCEDURES:

If you wish to request access to your records, you should contact the system manager at the address listed above. You must comply with the Department's Privacy Act regulations at 34 CFR 5b.5, including proof of identity.

CONTESTING RECORD PROCEDURES:

If you wish to request an amendment to your records, you should contact the system manager at the address listed above. Your request must meet the requirements of the Department's Privacy Act regulations at 34 CFR 5b.7.

RECORD SOURCE CATEGORIES:

Information in this system of records is obtained from the individual to whom the information applies, lending institutions holding student loans for the individual to whom the information applies, officials of the Department, and official Department documents.

SYSTEM EXEMPTED FROM CERTAIN PROVISIONS OF THE ACT:

None.

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[FR Doc. 02-13312 Filed 5-28-02; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4000-01-P