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Code of Federal Regulations

When the Congress passes a law or the President issues an Executive Order or a Proclamation, those requirements have to be translated into working regulations for the Federal agencies that will implement them. 

If Congress passed a law that all community colleges will receive a 50% increase in their funding, the Department of Education would have to figure out how to make that happen. The Department would have to consider how to work hand-in-hand with state and local governments and how much the federal, state, and local governments would each pay to make the 50% increase. They would determine a timeline within which the funding increase would occur, and they would have to consider what penalties if any would effect governments that did not comply with the funding increases. 

The Department of Education would create regulations that would then be published in the Federal Register. The public can comment on the initial regulations, and then the Department finalizes them and publishes the final regulations in the Federal Register

All final regulations are organized by categories and published in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). Both the Federal Register and the CFR are compiled and published by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

NARA explains that the CFR's organization goes from broadest to most specific as follows:

  • 50 Titles, representing broad subject areas
  • Each Title is divided into chapters that are assigned to federal agencies
  • Each chapter is divided into parts
  • Each part is divided into sections, the most specific unit in the CFR

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