Summary: The Secretary invites institutions of higher education that are not currently participating in the Quality Assurance (QA) Program under section 487A of the Higher Education Act to submit applications to participate beginning with the 1995-1996 award year.
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[Federal Register: August 8, 1995 (Volume 60, Number 152)]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
Department of Education
Federal Student Assistance Programs Under Title IV of the Higher
Education Act of 1965, as Amended; Notice
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
Federal Student Assistance Programs Under Title IV of the Higher
Education Act of 1965, as Amended
AGENCY: Department of Education.
ACTION: Notice inviting applications for participation in the Quality
SUMMARY: The Secretary invites institutions of higher education that
are not currently participating in the Quality Assurance (QA) Program
under section 487A of the Higher Education Act to submit applications
to participate beginning with the 1995-1996 award year.
DATES: Applications may be submitted any time after August 8, 1995.
ADDRESSES: Barbara Mroz, U.S. Department of Education, 600 Independence
Avenue, SW., (Room 3925, ROB-3), Washington, DC 20202-5232.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jacqulyn Bannister, telephone: (202)
260-4788. Individuals who use a telecommunications device for the deaf
(TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-
877-8339 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., Eastern time, Monday through
The Department of Education is undertaking a series of initiatives
to simplify regulations and administrative processes for the Federal
student assistance programs authorized by Title IV of the Higher
Education Act (HEA). By notice published on April 25, 1995, 60 FR
20326, the Secretary invited QA Program participants and other
institutions to submit proposals to reinvent the administration of
those programs through the use of the experimental sites authority in
section 487A(d) of the HEA. At the direction of the President, the
Secretary has conducted a page-by-page review of all student financial
assistance regulations to identify those that should be eliminated or
improved. The Secretary will also consider developing proposals for
statutory amendments to eliminate unnecessary administrative burden.
As a part of this student aid reform effort, the Secretary intends
to expand the QA Program. Begun on a pilot basis in 1985, the QA
Program currently permits participating institutions to develop and
implement their own comprehensive systems to verify student financial
aid application data. Participation in the program is entirely
voluntary. The Secretary is authorized to exempt participating
institutions from the reporting and verification requirements that
would otherwise apply and to substitute other necessary quality
Presently, ninety schools participate in the program, and the
Secretary has exempted these schools from several provisions of the
Student Assistance General Provisions regulations relating to
Beginning with the upcoming award year, the Secretary intends to
expand the QA Program by increasing the number of schools that
participate in the program and by employing the experimental sites
authority in section 487A(d) of the HEA to facilitate the development
of innovative management approaches on a broader scale. If
participating QA schools, acting alone or together, develop an
innovative approach to the management of student aid programs and the
Secretary approves the approach, the Secretary is authorized to exempt
the schools from any Title IV statutory or regulatory requirement that
would bias the results of their experiments.
Invitation for Applications
The Secretary invites institutions of higher education that
administer one or more Title IV programs to submit applications to
participate in the QA Program beginning with the 1995-1996 award year.
Institutions that currently participate in the program may continue to
do so without submitting new applications. Because training workshops
will be scheduled for early fall, institutions are encouraged to apply
as soon as possible. The Secretary anticipates that the review of
applications will begin within 45 days of the date of this notice;
however, applications that are received later will also be considered.
An institution that wishes to apply may do so by mailing a letter
of application to Barbara Mroz at the address provided at the beginning
of this notice or by faxing it to her at (202) 708-9485. The Secretary
will review applications on the basis of demonstrated institutional
performance, as indicated by information currently on file that
pertains to the institution and information in the letter of
application that addresses the institution's commitment to the
Secretary's current quality assurance goals. Those goals are the
(1) To improve the accuracy of Title IV student aid awards;
(2) To increase institutional flexibility in managing student aid
funds while maintaining accountability for the proper use of those
(3) To encourage the development of innovative management
(4) To emphasize results rather than process, up-front correction
rather than after-the-fact inspection; and
(5) To place responsibility for quality control and quality
improvement at the point where funds and services are delivered--the
Features of the Program
The Secretary encourages institutions participating in the QA
Program to employ a continuous cycle of assessment and improvement as
they develop and implement their systems to verify student aid
application data. Institutions evaluate their verification procedures,
adopt improvements in those procedures, test the effects of those
improvements, and adopt further improvements.
The Secretary will adopt no regulations for the QA Program.
Institutions that participate in the program will be free to develop
and implement their own comprehensive verification systems and to
request exemptions from reporting and verification requirements that
would otherwise apply. It is the Secretary's intention to exempt all
participating institutions from the requirements in the following
provisions of 34 CFR part 668, subpart E--Verification of Student Aid
<bullet> Section 668.53(a) (1)-(4);
<bullet> Section 668.54(a) (1), (2), and (4);
<bullet> Section 668.56;
<bullet> Section 668.57; and
<bullet> Section 668.60(a).
In addition, a participating institution may request an exemption
from any other student financial assistance program reporting or
verification requirement. As provided by section 487A(b) of the HEA,
the Secretary may substitute such quality assurance reporting as he
deems necessary to ensure accountability and compliance with the
purposes of the Title IV programs.
Participating institutions may also take advantage of their
improved administrative capabilities to propose their own individual or
collective innovative approaches to the administration of Title IV
programs under the experimental sites authority and to seek exemptions
from Title IV requirements that stand in the way of those experiments.
Further information on experimental sites may be found in the Federal
Register document referred to earlier in this notice.
The Secretary believes that the process of continuous improvement
verification systems fostered by the QA Program has enhanced the
integrity of those systems at participating institutions. By expanding
the program to include other management areas, the Secretary believes
that it can serve to promote improvements not only in the accuracy of
student aid awards and payments, but in the management of student aid
offices and the delivery of services to students as well.
Dated: August 2, 1995.
David A. Longanecker,
Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education.
[FR Doc. 95-19463 Filed 8-7-95; 8:45 am]
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