U.S. Code of Federal Regulations

Regulations most recently checked for updates: Jul 19, 2024

§ 315.614 - Hiring Authority for College Graduates.

(a) Appointment authority. In accordance with the provisions of this section, an agency may appoint noncompetitively an eligible and qualified individual to a position classified in a professional or administrative occupational category at the general schedule (GS) 11 level (or equivalent) or below, without regard to the provisions of 5 U.S.C. 3309 through 3319 and 3330.

(b) Eligibility. An eligible college graduate is defined as an individual who:

(1) Has received a baccalaureate or graduate degree from an institution of higher education as defined in 20 U.S.C. 1001(a); and

(i) Has submitted an application for the position being filled under this authority (using the date on which the application is received by the hiring agency as the date of submission).

(ii) Not later than two years after the date on which the individual received their degree described in paragraph (b)(1) introductory text of this section; or

(iii) in the case of an individual who has completed a period of not less than four years of intervening obligated service in a uniformed service, not later than two years after the date on which the individual was released or discharged from that uniformed service.

(2) Meets the minimum qualification standards prescribed or approved by OPM for the position to which the individual is being appointed.

(c) Qualifications. Agencies must evaluate eligible college graduates using the OPM-prescribed qualification standard, or an OPM-approved agency-specific minimum qualification standard, for the position being filled.

(d) Classification. An agency may make an initial appointment of an eligible and qualified individual to any position classified according to OPM classification standards in a professional or administrative occupational series at the GS-11 level (or equivalent) or below, including positions with promotion potential beyond the GS-11.

(e) Public notice and advertising. An agency must adhere to merit system principles, and thus must publicly advertise the position in a manner that endeavors to reach qualified individuals from all segments of society, including notifying OPM, in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 3327(b), before filling a position under this authority. To meet this requirement, an agency must display information about the position to be filled on its home page (that is accessible to the general public). An agency may, but is not required to, use www.USAJOBS.gov for this purpose. Alternatively, an agency may either provide an actual job announcement on its public-facing web page (home page) or provide a link to the job announcement on its public-facing homepage. The agency should consider whether additional recruitment and advertisement activities are necessary or appropriate to further merit system principles. If USAJOBS is not used to advertise the position, the agency must satisfy the requirements of 5 U.S.C. 3327(b) by providing OPM information about the position in the same format it usually would when posting a position on USAJOBS. A job announcement must include, at a minimum, the following information:

(1) The position title, series, grade level;

(2) The geographic location where the position will be filled;

(3) The starting salary of the position;

(4) The minimum qualifications of the position;

(5) Whether the position has promotion protentional to higher grade levels;

(6) Any other relevant information about the position such as telework opportunities, recruitment incentives, etc.;

(7) Specific information instructing applicants on how to apply;

(8) Equal employment opportunity statement (Agencies may use the recommended equal employment opportunity statement located on OPM's USAJOBS website.); and

(9) Reasonable accommodation statement.

(f) Appointment type. College graduates are appointed to career or career-conditional permanent positions in the competitive service.

(g) Acquisition of competitive status. A person appointed under this section acquires competitive status upon completion of probationary period in accordance with the provisions of subpart H of this part.

(h) Tenure upon appointment. A person appointed under paragraph (a) of this section becomes a career-conditional employee unless the appointee has already satisfied the requirements for career tenure or is exempt from the service requirement pursuant to § 315.201.

(i) Numerical limit on the number of appointments. (1) Except as provided in paragraph (i)(2) of this section, the total number of individuals that an agency may appoint under this authority during a fiscal year may not exceed 15 percent of the number of individuals that the agency appointed during the previous FY to a position in the competitive service classified in a professional or administrative occupational category, at the GS-11 level or below, or equivalent, under competitive examining procedures. An appointing agency may not count appointments made using direct hire authorities, non-competitive authorities, excepted service authorities, or selections under merit promotion authorities, when establishing the limit for a given fiscal year. In calculating this limitation, agencies must round up or down to the nearest whole number, if necessary, to eliminate a decimal place. Values ending in “.5” or more may be rounded up to the nearest whole number in determining an agency's cap limitation. Values ending in less than “.5” should be rounded down to the nearest whole number in determining an agency's cap limitation.

(2) During any given fiscal year, OPM may establish a lower limitation on the number of individuals that may be appointed under paragraph (i)(1) of this section based on any factor OPM considers appropriate. OPM shall notify agencies via the OPM website to communicate any modification to the numerical limitation.

(j) Reporting requirements. (1) Not later than September 30 of each of the first three fiscal years beginning in FY 2020 an agency that makes an appointment under these provisions must report to Congress and to OPM on the impact of this authority for the fiscal year for which the report is submitted. OPM will provide written guidance, at the time this rule is published, describing the means by which agencies should collect this information, the timing of such collections, and the groups as to which information should be collected. An agency's report must contain the following information:

(i) The total number of individuals appointed by the agency under this authority by position title, series, grade, and geographic location;

(ii) The number of individuals appointed under this authority by the items identified in 5 U.S.C. 3115(g), and in OPM guidance;

(iii) The number of veterans appointed, as defined in 5 U.S.C. 2108;

(iv) Any numerical limitation established in paragraph (i) of this section;

(v) Recruitment sources, outreach, and recruitment activities used to fill positions;

(vi) The total number of individuals appointed by the agency during the applicable fiscal year to a position in the competitive service classified in a professional or administrative occupational category at the GS-11 level, or an equivalent level, or below;

(vii) The number of individuals appointed under the authority that have been separated to show a break down between involuntary and voluntary separations as well as the reasons for each type of separation;

(viii) Information on difficulties encountered when using the authority;

(2) OPM may request additional information from agencies on their use of this authority. An agency must include in its report to Congress and OPM any additional information required by OPM under this subsection.

(k) Special provisions for Department of Defense. These regulations do not preclude the Secretary of Defense from exercising authority to appoint a recent graduate under section 1106 of Public Law 114-328. Additionally, these regulations do not apply to the Department of Defense during the period section 1106 of Public Law 114-328 is in effect.

[86 FR 61046, Nov. 5, 2021]