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Notice

Privacy Act of 1974; Matching Program

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Department of Education.

ACTION:

Notice of a new Computer Matching Agreement (CMA).

SUMMARY:

This document provides notice of a new CMA between the Department of Education (ED) and the Department of Justice (DOJ). The current 18-month CMA was recertified for an additional 12 months on January 2, 2020 and will automatically expire on January 1, 2021.

DATES:

Submit your comments on the proposed CMA on or before January 4, 2021.

The CMA will be effective the later of: (1) January 2, 2021, or (2) January 4, 2021, unless comments have been received from interested members of the public requiring modification and republication of the notice. The CMA will continue for 18 months after the effective date of the CMA and may be extended for an additional 12 months thereafter, if the conditions specified in 5 U.S.C. 552a(o)(2)(D) have been met.

ADDRESSES:

Submit your comments through the Federal eRulemaking Portal or via postal mail, commercial delivery, or hand delivery. We will not accept comments submitted by fax or by email or those submitted after the comment period. To ensure that we do not receive duplicate copies, please submit your comments only once. In addition, please include the Docket ID at the top of your comments.

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to www.regulations.gov to submit your comments electronically. Information on using Regulations.gov, including instructions for accessing agency Start Printed Page 78128documents, submitting comments, and viewing the docket, is available on the site under the “help” tab.
  • Postal Mail, Commercial Delivery, or Hand Delivery: If you mail or deliver your comments about this new CMA, address them to the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

Privacy Note: ED's policy is to make all comments received from members of the public available for public viewing in their entirety on the Federal eRulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov. Therefore, commenters should be careful to include in their comments only information that they wish to make publicly available.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Gerard Duffey, Management and Program Analyst, Wanamaker Building, U.S. Department of Education, Federal Student Aid, 100 Penn Square East, Suite 509.B10, Philadelphia, PA 19107. Telephone: (215) 656-3249.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

We provide this notice in accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. 552a), as amended by the Computer Matching and Privacy Protection Act of 1988 (Pub. L. 100-503) and the Computer Matching and Privacy Protection Amendments of 1990 (Pub. L. 101-508) (CMPPA); the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Final Guidance Interpreting the Provisions of Public Law 100-503, the Computer Matching and Privacy Protection Act of 1988 (54 FR 25818, June 19, 1989); and OMB Circular A-108, Federal Agency Responsibilities for Review, Reporting, and Publication under the Privacy Act (81 FR 94424, December 23, 2016).

Participating Agencies

The Department of Education (ED) and the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Authority for Conducting the Matching Program

Under section 421 (hereinafter referred to as “section 5301”) of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 862), an individual convicted of a Federal or State drug trafficking or possession offense may be denied, at the discretion of the court, certain Federal benefits, including those under the Federal Student Financial Assistance Programs authorized by title IV of the Higher Education Act (HEA) of 1965, as amended (title IV, HEA student financial assistance). The Denial of Federal Benefits and Defense Procurement Fraud Debarment Clearinghouse Programs (DFB/DPFD) database (formerly known as DEBARS) collects information regarding those individuals for whom benefits are denied and forwards this information to the General Services Administration (GSA) for inclusion in the publication “Lists of Parties Excluded from Federal Procurement or Non-procurement Programs,” more commonly known as the “Debarment List.” Federal agencies are required by law to consult the Debarment List, prior to the provision of certain benefits. However, ED and DOJ have determined that, for purposes of verifying title IV, HEA student financial assistance eligibility, direct access to the DFB/DPFD database would be more useful than access to the GSA's Debarment List because the DFB/DPFD database contains information essential to the effective operation of the match that is not available in the GSA List.

By matching the names, dates of birth, and SSNs in the DFB/DPFD database with ED's student financial aid records, ED is able to identify students who do not qualify for Federal student financial assistance pursuant to the provisions set forth in the Controlled Substances Act. DOJ's system of records also contains information concerning the specific program or programs for which benefits have been denied, as well as the duration of the period of ineligibility. DOJ will make available for the CMA the records of only those individuals who have been denied Federal benefits under one or more of the title IV, HEA programs. Thus, ED avoids the cost of disbursing student financial assistance funds to individuals who do not qualify for Federal student financial assistance, but who would otherwise receive aid had the CMA not existed.

DOJ is the lead contact agency for information related to violations of section 5301 and, as such, provides this data to ED. The 18-month CMA was recertified for an additional 12 months on January 2, 2020 and will automatically expire on January 1, 2021.

Purpose(s)

The purpose of this matching program is to ensure that the requirements of section 421 of the Controlled Substances Act (originally enacted as section 5301 of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988, Pub. L. 100-690, 21 U.S.C. 853a, which was amended and re-designated as section 421 of the Controlled Substances Act by section 1002(d) of the Crime Control Act of 1990, Pub. L. 101-647) (hereinafter referred to as “section 5301”) are met.

DOJ is the lead contact agency for information related to section 5301 violations and, as such, provides this data to ED. ED seeks access to the information contained in the Denial of Federal Benefits and Defense Procurement Fraud Debarment Clearinghouse program (DFB/DPFD) database (formerly known as DEBARS) that is authorized under section 5301 for the purpose of ensuring that HEA student financial assistance is not awarded to individuals subject to denial of benefits under court orders issued pursuant to the Denial of Federal Benefits Program.

Categories of Individuals

The individuals whose records are included in this matching program are individuals who are the subject of section 5301 denial of benefits court orders, and all students who complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid. ED receives data from the DOJ DFB/DPFD system that is used to match title IV, HEA applicant data in ED's Central Processing System (Federal Student Aid Application File (18-11-01).

Categories of Records

ED will use the Social Security number (SSN), date of birth, and the first two letters of an applicant's last name for the match. These data elements are contained in ED's Central Processing System. The DOJ DFB/DPFD system contains the names, SSNs, dates of birth, and other identifying information regarding individuals convicted of Federal or State offenses involving drug trafficking or possession of a controlled substance who have been denied Federal benefits by Federal or State courts. This system of records also contains information concerning the specific program or programs for which benefits have been denied, as well as the duration of the period of ineligibility. DOJ will make available for the matching program the records of only those individuals who have been denied Federal benefits under one or more of the title IV, HEA programs.

System(s) of Records

DOJ system of records: DFB/DPFD (The most recent full DFB/DPFD system of records notice was published in the Federal Register on May 10, 1999, 64 FR 25071). ED system of records: Federal Student Aid Application File (18-11-01). (The most recent ED system of records notice was published in the Federal Register on October 29, 2019, 84 FR 57856). (Note: The ED Central Processing System (CPS) is the ED information system that processes data from the Federal Student Aid Application File.)

Accessible Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this document in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, audiotape, or compact disc) by Start Printed Page 78129contacting the contact person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

Electronic Access to This Document: The official version of this document is the document published in the Federal Register. You may access the official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations at www.govinfo.gov. At this site you can view this document, as well as all other documents of this Department published in the Federal Register, in text or Portable Document Format (PDF). To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free at the site.

You may also access documents of the Department published in the Federal Register by using the article search feature at www.federalregister.gov. Specifically, through the advanced search feature at this site, you can limit your search to documents published by the Department.

Start Signature

Mark Brown,

Chief Operating Officer, Federal Student Aid.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2020-26478 Filed 12-1-20; 8:45 am]

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