The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) finalized an interim rule today that would make it easier for Federal agencies to hire college graduates into the Federal workforce.

The rule would allow Federal agencies to hire college graduates directly into the competitive service at a General Schedule (GS) 11 level or lower. The rule was authorized by the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act.

“This authority will allow agencies to use strategic recruiting to hire recent college graduates to fill professional and administrative positions at the GS-11 level and below. When using the authority agencies will have additional flexibility in how college graduates are hired,” the interim rule states.

The rule accompanies another interim rule that would make it easier for Federal agencies to hire college students as interns, which was released in interim form in August. The new interim rule states that additional regulations will be implemented for hiring post-secondary students into the service.

The rule will apply to any applicants who graduated with a baccalaureate or master’s degree within two years of their application. For any graduates who have a required uniformed service period – like a graduate from one of the nation’s service academies or the Reserve Officers Training Corps – that two-year period begins once the compulsory service period ends.

“Federal agencies will determine recruitment sources and processes for the solicitation of applications and will be held responsible for merit-based selections. This authority – when combined with agencies’ strategic recruitment plans – may help agencies better recruit to fill mission-critical occupations,” the rule states.

The rule is expected to affect more than 80 agencies and has first-year implementation costs of around $33,270 per agency. Governmentwide, the rule is expected to have a $2,661,600 implementation cost. Even with these implementation costs, OPM does not expect the rule to substantially increase administrative costs for agencies.

The rule is effective as of 30 days from Nov. 5, and OPM will accept comments on the rule until 60 days from the publish date.

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Lamar Johnson
Lamar Johnson
Lamar Johnson is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.