NSBA Urges U.S. Supreme Court to Rein in Federal Agencies’ Discretionary Power

February 9, 2016

Alexandria, Va. (February 9, 2016) — The National School Boards Association (NSBA), joins the State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) in filing a “friend of the court” (amicus) brief, urging the U.S. Supreme Court to review the Seventh Circuit’s decision in Bible v. United Student Aid Funds, Inc. The amici ask the Court to limit the power of federal agencies to interpret their own regulations when changing their position, and without first providing affected stakeholders with notice and an opportunity to comment on such a change.

“Enabling an agency to expand the scope of its power and authority can lead to significant financial and operational burdens for those directly impacted by the regulations,” said Thomas J. Gentzel, Executive Director, National School Boards Association. “This case provides the Court with the opportunity to promote straightforward regulations and rein in federal agencies’ discretionary power.”

The case involves a claim that United Student Aid Funds, Inc. imposed unauthorized collection costs on the plaintiff—Bryana Bible—after she agreed to a rehabilitation agreement to cure the default on her student loans. The appeals court agreed with Bible based on the U.S. Department of Education’s amicusbrief stating that federal regulations barred loan guarantors from recovering such collection costs. This positon was a new interpretation of the regulations in conflict with the agency’s previous explanation of student loan rules.

“The unfettered ability of federal agencies to change regulatory interpretation can cause can uncertainty in the law, leaving regulated entities like school boards guessing about compliance,” said Francisco M. Negrón, General Counsel and Associate Executive Director, Legal Advocacy, NSBA.

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The National School Boards Association (NSBA) is the leading advocate for public education and supports equity and excellence in public education through school board leadership. NSBA represents state school boards associations and their more than 90,000 local school board members throughout the U.S. Learn more at

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