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Summary: Release of the report, Analysis of the Experimental Sites Initiative: 2004-05 Award Year

Publication Date: April 20, 2007

Author: William Leith, Acting General Manager, Application, Operations and Delivery Services, Federal Student Aid

Summary: Release of the report, Analysis of the Experimental Sites Initiative: 2004-05 Award Year

Posted on 04-20-2007

The U.S. Department of Education is pleased to announce the release of the report, Analysis of the Experimental Sites Initiative: 2004-05 Award Year. This report is available from the Experimental Sites website at https://experimentalsites.ed.gov.

The Experimental Sites Initiative was authorized by Congress under section 487A(b) "Regulatory Improvement and Streamlining Experiments" of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended.

Since 1996 the U.S. Department of Education, Federal Student Aid, has overseen the Experimental Sites Initiative. This Initiative - or the "experiments" - provides Federal Student Aid with 120 laboratories to test the effects of statutory and regulatory flexibility for selected institutions participating in Title IV student aid programs. Each of these laboratories is a postsecondary institution granted special permission to waive specific statute and the implementing regulations. The Initiative grew from concerns that Federal requirements sometimes placed unnecessary burdens on postsecondary students and institutions and that the outcomes of some of these requirements could run counter to the goals of the Higher Education Act. The Higher Education Reconciliation Act of 2006, Public Law No. 109-171 made permanent the flexibilities tested in two experiments - waiver of multiple disbursements for single-term loans and waiver of the 30-day delay for disbursements of loans to first-time, first-year borrowers. This is the final year that participating institutions will report data regarding these two experiments.

As a condition for participation, institutions in the Experimental Sites Initiative provide data concerning the outcomes of the experiments in which they participate. This report compiles performance outcomes on all 10 of the experiments conducted during the award year 2004-2005. These experiments involve:

° Loan proration practices for graduating borrowers
° Overaward tolerance and the disbursement of loan funds
° Inclusion of loan fees in the calculation of student cost of attendance
° Credit of Title IV funds to otherwise nonallowable institutional charges
° Credit of Title IV funds to prior term charges
° Waiver of multiple disbursements for single-term loans
° Waiver of the 30-day delay for disbursements of loans to first-time, first-year borrowers
° Alternative entrance loan counseling procedures
° Alternative exit loan counseling procedures
° Award of Title IV aid to students not passing an "Ability to Benefit" test.

Federal Student Aid has compiled the data submitted by institutions participating in the experiments. When compared to previous academic years, the results are similar with benefits accruing to not only the institution but to students and their families as well. Schools continue to articulate their support for the Initiative


Last Modified: 04/19/2007