Summary: This letter informs the higher education community of changes to the
Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA), made by Pub.L.105-18. These changes concern an institutions annual calculation of completion or graduation and transfer-out rates under the HEA
Attention: Financial Aid Administrator, Registrar, and the Chief
SUMMARY: This letter informs the higher education community of
changes to the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended
(HEA), made by Pub.L.105-18. These changes concern an
institutions annual calculation of completion or
graduation and transfer-out rates under the HEA.
REFERENCE: Student Right-to-Know Regulations at Vol.60, FR Pages
61776-61788, published December 1, 1995. Chapter 3 of
the Federal Student Financial Aid Handbook.
The purpose of this letter is to inform you of changes to the provisions of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, (HEA) concerning an institutions disclosure of completion or graduation and transfer-out rates to current and prospective students. Pub.L. 105-18 entitled "1997 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Recovery From Natural Disasters, and for Overseas Peacekeeping Efforts, Including Those in Bosnia," included changes to the provisions of the HEA mandated by the Student Right-to-Know Act. Provisions of Pub.L. 105-18 that pertain to the calculation of completion or graduation and transfer-out rates become effective July 1, 1998, and are self-implementing. In other words, the statutory changes leave no discretion for the Secretary to propose rules for implementation of the statute. The Department of Education will publish technical amendments to the regulations in the near future to incorporate the changes made by Pub.L. 105-18 to the HEA.
Pub.L. 105-18 makes a significant change to 34 CFR 668.46 of the Student Right-to-Know regulations; it changes the definition of a cohort year to one that begins on September 1 and ends on August 31 of each year, rather than, as previously mandated, one that begins on July 1 and ends on June 30. Institutions that offer a predominant number of programs based on semesters, trimesters, or quarters will continue to establish a fall cohort based on enrollment of first-time, full-time freshmen, either as of October 15, or as of the end of the institutions add-drop period; however, beginning with the 1998-99 cohort, all cohorts will have until August 31 of the last year of 150% of normal time to graduate or complete, or transfer out of the institution.
Beginning with the 1998-99 cohort, institutions that do not offer a predominant number of programs based on semesters, trimesters, or quarters will collect cohort information from September 1 through August 31 of each year. All institutions will continue to be required to disclose completion or graduation and transfer-out rates to students by the January 1 following the end of 150% of the normal time required to complete the program.
Staff of the Departments Customer Support Branch in the Office of Postsecondary Education are trained to provide technical assistance to institutions in administering the Student Right-to-Know regulations. The telephone number and hours of operation for the Customer Support Branch are 1-800-433-7327, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday. After-hours calls will be accepted by an automated voice response system. Callers leaving their name and telephone number will receive a return call the next business day. You may also fax an inquiry to (202) 260-4199.
We hope this information is useful to you in administering the requirements of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, with respect to the disclosure of completion or graduation and transfer-out rates to current and prospective students.
Diane E. Rogers
Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary
Student Financial Assistance Programs