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The Secretary proposes to amend the Student Assistance General Provisions. These amendments are necessary to implement the Student Right-to-Know Act, as amended by the Higher Education Technical Amendments of 1991 and the Higher Education Technical Amend

FR part
XI
Attachments:
PublicationDate: 9/21/95
FRPart: XI
RegPartsAffected:
PageNumbers: 49155-49163
Summary: The Secretary proposes to amend the Student Assistance General Provisions. These amendments are necessary to implement the Student Right-to-Know Act, as amended by the Higher Education Technical Amendments of 1991 and the Higher Education Technical Amendments of 1993. The proposed regulations would require an institution that participates in any student assistance program under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (title IV, HEA program) to disclose information about graduation rates to current and prospective students. The proposed regulations would also require an institution that participates in any title IV, HEA program and awards athletically related student aid to provide certain types of data regarding the institution's student population, and the graduation rates of categories of student-athletes, to potential student-athletes and to the athletes' parents, coaches, and high school guidance counselors.
CommentDueDate: 10/25/95

  
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[


[Federal Register: September 21, 1995 (Volume 60, Number 183)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Page 49155-49163]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr21se95-46]



[[Page 49155]]

_______________________________________________________________________

Part XI





Department of Education





_______________________________________________________________________



34 CFR Part 668



Student Assistance General Provisions; Proposed Rule


[[Page 49156]]


DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

34 CFR Part 668

RIN 1840-AB44


Student Assistance General Provisions

AGENCY: Department of Education.

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Secretary proposes to amend the Student Assistance General
Provisions. These amendments are necessary to implement the Student
Right-to-Know Act, as amended by the Higher Education Technical
Amendments of 1991 and the Higher Education Technical Amendments of
1993. The proposed regulations would require an institution that
participates in any student assistance program under Title IV of the
Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (title IV, HEA program) to
disclose information about graduation rates to current and prospective
students. The proposed regulations would also require an institution
that participates in any title IV, HEA program and awards athletically
related student aid to provide certain types of data regarding the
institution's student population, and the graduation rates of
categories of student-athletes, to potential student-athletes and to
the athletes' parents, coaches, and high school guidance counselors.

DATES: Comments must be received by October 25, 1995.

ADDRESSES: All comments concerning these proposed regulations should be
addressed to: Ms. Paula Husselmann, U.S. Department of Education, P.O.
Box 23272, Washington, DC 20026-3272, or to the following internet
address: srtk@ed.gov.
To ensure that public comments have maximum effect in developing
the final regulations, the Department urges that each comment clearly
identify the specific section or sections of the regulations that the
comment addresses and that comments be in the same order as the
regulations.
A copy of any comments that concern information collection
requirements should also be sent to the Office of Management and Budget
at the address listed in the Paperwork Reduction Act section of this
preamble. A copy of those comments may also be sent to the Department
representative named in the above paragraph.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Paula Husselmann or Mr. David
Lorenzo, U.S. Department of Education, 600 Independence Avenue, SW.,
ROB-3, Room 3045, Washington, DC 20202-5346. Telephone: (202) 708-7888.
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 Friday.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Student Assistance General Provisions
(34 CFR part 668) apply to all institutions that participate in the
student financial assistance programs authorized by Title IV of the
Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA). The proposed changes in
these regulations are necessary to implement changes to the HEA made by
the Student Right-to-Know Act, Public Law 101-542, as amended by the
Higher Education Technical Amendments of 1991, Public Law 102-26, and
the Higher Education Technical Amendments of 1993, Public Law 103-208.
The Secretary published a proposed rule on July 10, 1992 to implement
the Student Right-to-Know and Campus Security Act. Over three hundred
commenters responded to those proposed rules. Final regulations
implementing the Campus Security Act were published separately on April
29, 1994.
This second proposed rule incorporates a number of recommendations
submitted by the higher education community in response to the first
proposed rule. In addition, this second proposed rule is published in
response to comments expressed in many meetings with the higher
education community concerning the implementation of the various
graduation rate requirements mandated by the Higher Education
Amendments of 1992, Public Law 102-325.
The HEA, as amended by Public Law 102-325, uses completion or
graduation rates for administering provisions of the statute beyond
those governing student consumerism. The July 10, 1992 NPRM proposed a
rigorous, standardized methodology so that the same data could be used
for purposes of the Student Right-to-Know regulations, the State
Postsecondary Review Program, and regulations governing institutional
eligibility for short-term vocational programs. However, Congress has
rescinded funding for the State Postsecondary Review Program and has
not proposed funding for future years. Unlike the provisions of the
Student Right-to-Know Act, the statutory requirements for completion or
graduation rate data for institutional eligibility purposes do not
apply to all schools that participate in title IV, HEA programs. The
Secretary has therefore decided that this proposed rule would address
only the calculation of completion or graduation rates for purposes of
the consumer information requirements of the Student Right-to-Know Act,
and that these proposed rules would be more flexible than the July 10,
1992 NPRM.
The Secretary appreciates that some members of the higher education
community favor the promulgation of a single valid methodological
approach that would cover all the Student Assistance General Provisions
regulations that require the calculation of completion or graduation
rates. The Secretary believes, however, that the flexible approach and
narrow scope of these proposed rules are appropriate. The Student
Right-to-Know statute only requires completion or graduation rate
calculations for consumer information purposes, so the scope of these
proposed regulations is consistent with the law. The relative lack of
methodological prescription in the statute means that the more
prescriptive approach needed to generate completion or graduation rate
calculations for other purposes would not be required by this law. The
separation of these regulations governing student consumer information
requirements from other regulations also makes it easier for the
Department to meet the requirements of Executive Order 12866 to
regulate flexibly and minimize burden on institutions. Finally, the
Secretary solicits comments on whether the guidance these proposed
regulations would provide is sufficient to generate useful data for the
student consumer information purposes outlined in the statute, and on
ways in which these proposed rules might be improved.
Given the flexible and limited approach the Secretary has adopted,
the Secretary also, in the preparation of final regulations, wants to
strike an appropriate balance among several important but sometimes
competing aims related to these issues. First, the Secretary wants to
balance the need to preserve flexibility with the need to avoid
requiring institutions to use different methodologies when calculating
completion or graduation rates to satisfy the requirements of this
statute and other statutes and regulations. Second, the Secretary wants
to balance the need to regulate institutions within the current level
of technology and available information while preserving the
flexibility to anticipate future developments. The Secretary foresees
that institutions' ability to gather information and measure completion
or graduation rates

[[Page 49157]]
will evolve and improve in the future. Such developments might lead to
the identification and adoption of more rigorous methodologies for
calculating completion or graduation rates for other regulatory
purposes. If such methodologies are identified and adopted, the
Secretary will look at the possibility of allowing institutions to use
those methodologies to satisfy the requirements of the Student Right-
to-Know statute as well as the requirements of other statutes and
regulations.
In this regard the Secretary asks for comments on possible ways
that consistency might be attained and overall burden reduced in light
of the different purposes to which completion or graduation rate
calculations are used in the Student Assistance General Provisions
regulations. The Secretary also asks for comments on whether these
proposed regulations strike the appropriate balance between flexibility
and duplication of effort, and between current conditions and future
developments in technology and information management, and how these
regulations might be improved to better address these issues.

Preparation of Proposed Regulations

The Secretary has formulated these proposed regulations in
accordance with Executive Order 12866, the Administration's initiative
on regulatory reinvention, and the Department's own Principles for
Regulating.
The Secretary believes that the Student Right-to-Know Act
establishes important consumer information disclosure standards for
institutions. In proposing these regulations, the Secretary's goal is
to ensure that institutions provide consistent and useful information
on completion and graduation rates. With this information in hand, the
Secretary believes that students and student-athletes can make better,
more informed choices when they choose a postsecondary institution.
The Secretary believes these proposed regulations strike an
appropriate balance between establishing a basic level of useful
consumer information for students, and keeping the burden on
institutions to a minimum. However, the Secretary solicits comments on
ways to reach both the goal of providing useful consumer information
and the goal of keeping burden on institutions to a minimum, and on
whether these proposed regulations are successful in meeting both
goals.

Summary of the Proposed Regulations

The following is a summary of the regulations that the Secretary
proposes to implement the Student Right-to-Know Act:

Section 668.41 Reporting and disclosure of information

Public Law 101-542 expands the types of ``consumer information''
that institutions must disclose to students to include completion or
graduation rates. The statute and Sec. 668.41(a)(3) of these
regulations require an institution to update this information annually,
and to make that updated information readily available, through
appropriate publications and mailings, to both current and prospective
students. The statute also requires an institution to disclose the
information to prospective students before they enroll or enter into
any financial obligation with the institution. The statute defines a
prospective student as ``an individual who has contacted an eligible
institution requesting information concerning admission to that
institution.'' The Secretary also encourages institutions to make the
rates available to secondary schools and guidance counselors so they
have the information needed to advise student and parent consumers.
The Secretary invites comments on the differences between the
reporting requirements contained in these proposed regulations and
those contained in the Campus Security Act final regulations, with
regard to where the institutions should publish this information, and
whether the Department should regulate the placement of information in
publications.
With respect to potential student-athletes, the statute and
Sec. 668.41(b) require that institutions that award athletically
related student aid develop an annual, updated report containing
information regarding the graduation rates of athletes, categorized by
race, gender, and sport, as well as other data regarding the
institution's student profile. The statute, and these proposed
regulations, also require that institutions provide this report not
only to the prospective student-athlete, but also to his or her
parents, coach, and guidance counselor when the institution offers a
potential student-athlete some form of athletically related student
aid. The statute, and these regulations, define athletically related
student aid as ``any scholarship, grant, or other form of financial
assistance, offered by an institution, the terms of which require the
recipient to participate in a program of intercollegiate athletics at
the institution in order to receive that assistance.''
The statute, and Sec. 668.41(b)(2) of these regulations, require
that institutions provide a copy of this report on the completion or
graduation rates of student-athletes to the Secretary by every July 1,
beginning July 1, 1997.
The Secretary is proposing the following definitions in
Sec. 668.41(c) of these regulations:
The Secretary proposes to define ``full-time'' to mean the student
workload, measured in credit or clock hours, that the institution
consistently designates as a full-time workload. The Secretary is
proposing this definition rather than the definition found elsewhere in
the student assistance general provisions, in 34 CFR 668.2, to allow
institutions greater flexibility in establishing the group of entering
students on which the graduation rate is based. The definition of
``full-time'' in Sec. 668.2 is designed for the narrow purpose of
calculating award amounts for title IV, HEA program purposes; the
Secretary proposes that institutions have wider latitude in defining
``full-time'' for this purpose than is provided by that definition.
The Secretary emphasizes, however, that this flexibility does not
allow institutions to create new definitions of ``full-time'' for use
only for purposes of these calculations. The Secretary also expects
that the institution's customary definition of ``full-time'' is located
in publications widely available to students. The Secretary solicits
comment as to the utility of requiring an institution to supply its
definition of ``full-time'' in the completion or graduation rate
information it discloses so that students will have information about
the different underlying components that contribute to a final
completion or graduation rate.
These regulations would define the statutory term ``normal time''
as the minimum length of time necessary for a full-time student,
continuously attending the institution, to complete a certificate or
degree program. Many students do not complete or graduate within this
definition of normal time for a variety of reasons, for example, family
responsibilities, the need to work to earn income, the need for
remediation, or changes in academic program or goals. An institution's
completion or graduation rate may be influenced by varying factors,
such as open admission requirements and student profiles. But the
Secretary believes it was the intent of Congress in using the term
``normal time'' in the statute to mean a minimal length of time, rather
than an average length of time, and that Congress meant to address the
issues discussed above when it set the limit for counting

[[Page 49158]]
completers or graduates at 150% of normal time.
These regulations also contain the statutory definitions of the
terms ``athletically related student aid'' and ``prospective
students''.

Section 668.46 Report on Completion/Graduation Rate

This new section of the regulations would incorporate section
485(a)(1)(L) of the HEA, which requires an institution to disclose the
completion or graduation rate of certificate- or degree-seeking, full-
time, undergraduate students entering the institution. To promote
flexibility and reduce regulatory burden, the Secretary is proposing
that each institution have discretion to define the terms
``certificate- or degree-seeking students'' and ``undergraduate
students'' for purposes of these regulations, but expects that the
definitions it uses for these terms will be those it customarily
employs. The Secretary solicits comment as to the utility of requiring
an institution to supply its definition of ``full-time'' in the
completion or graduation rate information it discloses so that students
will have information about the different underlying components that
contribute to a final completion or graduation rate.
Institutions are required by the statute to base their graduation
rate on the group of students who enter between each July 1 and June
30, beginning with students who enter on or after July 1, 1996. This is
reflected in Secs. 668.46(a) and 668.46(a)(1)(i). An institution may
arrive at this rate by counting all the graduates or completers among
all the students who enter for this entire time period (year-long
data), or by counting those in a portion of this time period (e.g.,
fall enrollment) who complete or graduate and then extrapolate from
those data a final rate. In this regard, the Secretary only requires
that the institution's methodology be reasonable, and that the
completion or graduation rate yielded by that methodology represent an
accurate description of the completion or graduation rate at the
institution. However, the Secretary invites comments on this proposal,
and particularly wishes to hear the views of the higher education
community with regard to issues of comparability between those
institutions that use fall cohorts, and those institutions that count
all students who enter during the year.
The Department will publish a sample methodology that institutions
may use to satisfy the requirements of this statute, and will work with
the higher education community to identify other satisfactory
methodologies.
With regard to the statutory provision that institutions base their
graduation rate on students who ``enter'' between every July 1 and June
30, the Department's July 10, 1992 NPRM would have excluded transfer
students from the completion or graduation rate calculation, on the
grounds that those students were not ``first-time students.'' The
Secretary received comments from the higher education community that
failure to consider transfer students in an institution's completion or
graduation rate did not accurately reflect the true completion or
graduation rate for institutions that admit a considerable number of
transfer students. In light of these comments, the Secretary proposes
to require the inclusion of transfer students--as well as first-time
students--in the denominator of the institution's completion or
graduation rate fraction.
Thus, the Secretary proposes in Sec. 668.46(a)(1)(ii) of these
regulations that ``entering students'' include both first-time students
and students who enter the institution by transfer. The Secretary also
believes that for both first-time and transfer students, ``enter''
would mean a student's attendance of at least one day of class.
The concept of ``entering'' raises in addition the question of how
to track students' performance. The July 10, 1992 NPRM proposed for
institutions without continuous enrollment the tracking of first-time
students entering in the fall, as defined by the Integrated
Postsecondary Educational Data System (IPEDS), or, for institutions
with continuous enrollment, the tracking of first-time students
entering between July and September. These proposed regulations do not
prescribe any specific tracking methodology. Instead, these regulations
allow institutions the flexibility to choose the methodology that best
suits the institution's circumstances, including tracking on a student
by student basis, on a program by program basis, or on a cohort basis,
so long as that methodology (a) is applied to a population of students
based on the group of full-time, certificate- or degree-seeking
students who enter between every July 1 and June 30; (b) is applied to
both first-time students and transfer students, as discussed above; and
(c) is reasonable and generates an accurate completion or graduation
rate for the group of students described by the statute.
Nor do these regulations per se propose that institutions track
students continuously during 150% of normal time for completion or
graduation from their respective programs. These regulations only
propose that an institution take a reasonable methodological approach
to tracking students for purposes of calculating the completion or
graduation rates required by the statute. One reasonable approach an
institution may choose to take is to establish a cohort for a given
year and look back after 150% of normal time has elapsed to see how
many students in that cohort completed, graduated, or transferred to a
program for which the student's prior program provided substantial
preparation. This process entails no individual tracking and keeps
administrative burden to a minimum. The Secretary plans to disseminate
non-binding guidance at a later date that will contain a model
methodology for tracking students that institutions may use (but will
not be required to use) to satisfy the requirements of the statute and
these regulations.
With regard to the issue of tracking, the Secretary is concerned
that the goals of providing useful consumer information and of
providing institutional flexibility both be met in these regulations,
and solicits comments concerning how both these goals may be
accomplished, and whether this portion of the proposed regulations does
in fact accomplish both.
The Secretary is cognizant that tracking students who enter an
institution creates particular kinds of administrative burdens on some
schools. In view of these concerns, and the lack of statutory
requirements on this point, the Secretary does not propose to regulate
how institutions must track or place transfer students, but rather
proposes that institutions adopt a reasonable approach for tracking
transfer students, and placing them in groups of students that make up
the denominators of particular completion or graduation rate fractions.
However, the Secretary expects institutions to place a transfer student
in the group of students that most closely matches the transfer
student's academic status. For example, the Secretary would not deem it
reasonable for an institution that offers only four-year programs to
place a transfer student that it classifies academically as a junior in
a group of students that it classifies as freshmen. The Secretary
solicits comments on this issue, especially with regard to possible
abuses, and whether the Department should include in the final
regulations specific guidance regarding the placement of transfer
students.
Section 668.46(a)(2)(i) of these regulations proposes that an
institution disclose its first graduation rate no later than the
October 1st following the

[[Page 49159]]
lapsing of 150% of normal time for all certificate- or degree-seeking,
full-time undergraduate students who enter the institution between July
1, 1996 and June 30, 1997. If an institution offers programs of varying
lengths, these regulations allow the institution to disclose its
graduation rate no later than the October 1st following the lapse of
150% of normal time for its longest program. An institution may report
earlier if it wishes, or on a program by program basis. The Secretary
would expect, however, that an institution would report on the basis of
the length of its predominant program, ``predominant'' being measured
by the standards of both the number of programs of a particular length,
and the number of students in programs of a particular length. The
Secretary also solicits comments on the entire issue of reporting
dates, and how the Secretary should balance flexibility in reporting
with students' need for timely consumer information.
While these proposed regulations would not require institutions to
provide information on groups of students who enter before July 1,
1996, the Secretary encourages institutions to disclose the completion
or graduation rates for earlier groups. If an institution does disclose
information on earlier groups, it should use the statutory methodology
described below for counting the students it places in the completion
or graduation rate denominator.
Section 668.46(a)(2)(ii) of these regulations proposes that an
institution subsequently disclose its graduation rate no later than the
October 1st following the lapsing of 150% of normal time for all
certificate- or degree-seeking, full-time undergraduate students who
enter between every July 1 and June 30. This date represents the latest
time that an institution may disclose its graduation rate for that
group, except in cases where 150% of normal time elapses on a date
between July 1 and October 1. In those cases the Secretary will allow
institutions to report no later than the following October 1.
In all cases, these regulations allow an institution to report
earlier than the latest reporting date described above. For example, an
institution may choose to report before the lapse of 150% of normal
time. And, as discussed above, an institution that has programs of
different lengths may choose to report on the basis of 150% of the
normal time for its longest program, or a program other than its
longest program, subject to the Secretary's expectations on this matter
regarding the institution's ``predominant'' programs. But regardless of
the length of the program on which the institution bases its disclosure
date, each student would still be limited to 150% of normal time for
his or her program to complete, graduate or transfer in order to count
in the numerator of the institution's completion or graduation rate
calculation. For example, the students enrolled in a two-year program
at an institution would receive three years to complete or graduate in
order to count as completers or graduates for these purposes, and
students in a year-long program at the same institution would only
receive eighteen months to complete or graduate, even if the
institution bases its disclosure date on 150% of the normal time for
the two-year program.
Under the flexible provisions of these regulations, an institution
would have to decide the following: (a) Whether it will track students
on a cohort basis, a program by program basis, or an individual basis;
(b) whether its methodology will track the entire group of students who
enter between July 1 and June 30, or will track some appropriate
portion (e.g., fall enrollment); and (c) the length of the program on
which the reporting date will be based.
For example, suppose an institution (a) uses a cohort methodology;
(b) uses a fall only cohort, and admits students in the fall up to
September 1; and (c) offers only four-year programs on a fall and
spring semester schedule. The institution would tag students who enter
during the fall of 1996, allow 150% of normal time to elapse (six
years), and disclose its first graduation rate no later than October 1,
2002. That rate would be based on the percentage of students in the
original cohort who completed or graduated no later than the end of the
institution's sixth academic year at the end of the spring semester of
2002. If the institution had chosen to track the cohort of students who
entered up to the beginning of the spring semester of 1997, rather than
the fall only cohort, disclosure would take place no later than October
1, 2003, and would include all students who completed, graduated, or
transferred as of the end of the fall semester of 2002.
If an institution (a) tracked students on a student by student
basis, (b) tracked all students who entered between July 1 and June 30,
and (c) offered two-year associate degree programs only, the latest
that institution could disclose a graduation rate for students entering
the institution between July 1, 1996 and June 30, 1997 would be October
1, 2000. This would allow 150% of normal time--that is, three years--to
elapse for all students who entered up to June 30, 1997 and would
include in the numerator of the fraction all students in the group who
completed, graduated, or transferred by June 30, 2000.
If an institution (a) tracked on a program by program basis, (b)
offered six-month programs, and (c) tracked students admitted to
programs between July 1 and June 30, the last class entering the
program by June 30, 1997 would complete 150% of normal time in March,
1998, and the institution would disclose its completion or graduation
rate information on the entire group no later than October 1, l998,
reflecting students who completed, graduated, or transferred no later
than the end of March 1998 (nine months after the beginning of the
program).
Section 668.46(b)(1) of the proposed rules follows the statute in
specifying that institutions count a student as having completed or
graduated from his or her program only if the student completed or
graduated from his or her program within 150% of the normal time for
completion or graduation from that program, or, within that time frame,
subsequently enrolled in any program of an eligible institution for
which the prior program provided substantial preparation.
The Secretary is proposing institutional flexibility with respect
to the determination of substantial preparation for transferring
students, with the exception that the student must be in good academic
standing at the time the student transfers to another eligible program.
Each institution must document that substantial preparation has taken
place in order to comply with the statute. However, unlike the
provisions of the July 10, 1992 NPRM, the Secretary is not proposing
regulations that specify the kinds of documentation an institution must
collect as proof that a student has transferred. Rather, the Secretary
asks for comments regarding which methods for documenting transfers the
Department should accept as reasonable interpretations of the statute.
For example, should the Department accept as sufficient proof of
transfer a simple request that an academic transcript be sent to
another institution? Or should the Department only accept a request
made by an institution to which the student intends to transfer or has
already transferred? The Secretary is also interested in comments
proposing other methods for determining the number of students who
transfer, other than a student by student count, that would fulfill the
requirements of the statute. For example, should the

[[Page 49160]]
Department accept the use of a methodology by which an institution
samples students who leave the institution and extrapolates from those
data a transfer percentage reflecting the entire population?
Also in contrast with the July 10, 1992 NPRM, the Secretary does
not propose in these regulations that the transferring student, in
order to be counted as a completer or graduate, be required to enter a
higher-level program. Several commenters on the earlier NPRM argued
that counting only those students who transfer to higher-level programs
unfairly penalizes institutions who prepared students to transfer to
parallel or other programs. Since the statute only speaks to
substantial preparation for a program, the Secretary would allow
institutions to count as completers or graduates all transfers that the
institution can document as transferring with substantial preparation.
However, the Secretary solicits comments on whether this position
sufficiently protects against potential abuses, and if there are
alternative ways of providing relief in this area that may better
protect against potential abuse.
In Sec. 668.46(b)(1)(iii) the Secretary also proposes allowing
institutions to count as a completer or graduate for these purposes a
student who originally enrolled in a program longer than the program on
which the institution bases its disclosure and who is still enrolled in
that program and in good academic standing, so long as 150% of the
normal time for completion or graduation for the student's program has
not elapsed by the date the institution makes its completion or
graduation rate information available. The Secretary believes that this
is necessary to allow institutions to report on a basis earlier than
150% of normal time for their longest programs and not be penalized for
their inability to count students who would complete or graduate from
those longer programs. In this case, the Secretary believes that the
value derived from encouraging an institution to report its completion
or graduation rate information sooner rather than later outweighs any
loss of precision that may arise from counting these students who are
still enrolled in longer-term programs as completers or graduates.
However, the Secretary reiterates the expectation that an institution
use as the program on which it bases its reporting date a predominant
or other program that best reflects the overall profile of the
institution's program offerings.
The July 10, 1992 NPRM proposed the disclosure of what was
essentially a persistence rate for all students until such time that
the graduation rate could be disclosed. For institutions that wish to
consider the disclosure of a persistence rate, the Secretary considers
the use of a persistence rate as a reasonable proxy for a graduation
rate until such time that the graduation rate can be disclosed. These
proposed regulations, however, would not require that institutions
disclose a persistence rate. The Secretary also notes that a
persistence rate cannot substitute for the graduation rate mandated by
the statute except in the limited circumstances regarding an enrolled
student in a program longer than the program on which the institution's
disclosure date is based, as described above.
The statute and Sec. 668.46(b)(2) allow an institution to exclude
certain students from the calculation of a graduation rate, namely,
students who leave the institution to serve: In the Armed Forces; on
official church mission assignments; and with a foreign aid service of
the Federal Government, such as the Peace Corps. The Secretary also
proposes in these regulations to allow an institution to exclude those
students who have died, or are unable to continue enrollment because of
a permanent and total disability. The Secretary believes that
institutions should not be required to include these students in their
completion and graduation rate calculation because these students are
unable to complete or graduate.
Some commenters on the July 10, 1992 NPRM believed that documenting
these statutory exclusions would be difficult. The Secretary notes that
the statute and these regulations do not require an institution to
exclude these students; rather, an institution may choose whether to do
so.
In Sec. 668.46(c) of these regulations the Secretary proposes that
institutions disclose as part of their completion or graduation rate
the separate ratios of the following to the denominator of the
completion or graduation rate fraction: (1) The number of completers or
graduates included in the numerator; (2) the number of transfer
students included in the numerator; and (3) the number of students in
good academic standing still enrolled in programs longer than the
program the institution uses as the basis of its disclosure date
included in the numerator. The Secretary believes that it is useful and
important for students and potential students to have this breakdown of
the completion or graduation rate on hand, because it allows them to
separate the completion rate of students who received a degree or
certificate from the rate of those students who transfer, and from the
rate of those who are still persisting in longer programs. The
Secretary also believes that this reporting requirement is not
burdensome, as it only requires the reporting of details that the
institution would have assembled in order to calculate its completion
or graduation rate.
Section 668.46(d) of these proposed rules contains the statutory
provision that authorizes the Secretary to waive the requirements of
this section if the institution belongs to an athletic association or
conference that publishes substantially comparable information, and if
the institution, or athletic association or conference, satisfies the
Secretary that this information is accurate and substantially
comparable. An institution is still responsible for making this
information available under the provisions listed in Sec. 668.41(a)(3)
even if it does successfully request waivers for this portion of the
regulations.

Section 668.49 Report on Completion or Graduation Rates for Student
Athletes

This section incorporates section 485(e) of the HEA by requiring
each institution that awards athletically related student aid to
disclose the completion or graduation rates of various student
populations at the institution, including student athletes, beginning
July 1, 1997.
Specifically, the statute and Sec. 668.49(a) require an institution
that awards athletically related student aid to disclose to the
potential student-athlete and his or her parents, high school coach,
and guidance counselor the following information at the time the
institution makes the potential student-athlete an offer of
athletically related student aid: (1) The number of students at the
institution, categorized by race and gender, and (2) the number of
those students, by sport, who receive athletically related student aid,
categorized by race and gender. The Secretary proposes that the data
under these provisions be based on students who attended the
institution during the year preceding the year in which the institution
discloses the data. This section would also require an institution to
supply information concerning the completion or graduation rate for
each category (race, gender, and sport) of these students within the
group defined in Secs. 668.46(a)(1)(i) and 668.46(a)(1)(ii) of these
proposed rules. It also requires the provision of a four-year average
of the graduation rates of the group of students defined in
Secs. 668.46(a)(1)(i) and 668.46(a)(1)(ii), categorized by race and
gender. An institution that has

[[Page 49161]]
completion or graduation rates for fewer than four classes would have
to disclose the average rate of those classes for which it has rates.
For these purposes, a sport is defined by the statute, and
Sec. 668.49(a)(2) of these proposed regulations, as basketball;
football; baseball; cross-country and track combined; and all other
sports combined. A ``sport'' is also defined under the Equity in
Athletics Disclosure Act, but it is defined in that statute to include
all varsity teams. Normally the Secretary, as encouraged by the higher
education community, prefers consistency of definitions under the
student aid programs. However, in this case the Secretary has no
discretionary authority under either statute to allow for consistent
treatment. The Secretary does note that the institutions affected by
this section of the proposed regulations are a subset of those covered
by the Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act, and that they may obtain
waivers to these provisions as described below.
In order to reduce burden on institutions, Sec. 668.49(b) proposes
that the calculation of graduation rates in this section follow the
regulations contained in Sec. 668.46(b) and (c).
The statute and Sec. 668.49(c) of these proposed regulations
provide that an institution may, if it so wishes, provide supplemental
information to the Secretary, potential student-athletes, and others
regarding: (1) The graduation rate of those students who transfer into
the institution, and (2) the number of students who transfer out of the
institution.
In addition, as under Sec. 668.46(d), the Secretary is authorized
to waive the requirements of this section if the institution belongs to
an athletic association or conference that publishes substantially
comparable information, and the institution, or conference or
association applying on its behalf, satisfies the Secretary that this
information is accurate and substantially comparable to the information
this statute requires institutions to produce.

Executive Order 12866

l. Assessment of Costs and Benefits

These proposed regulations have been reviewed in accordance with
Executive Order 12866. Under the terms of the order, the Secretary has
assessed the potential costs and benefits of the regulatory action. The
potential costs associated with the proposed regulations are those
resulting from statutory requirements. Burdens specifically associated
with information collection requirements are identified and explained
elsewhere in the preamble under the heading Paperwork Reduction Act of
1995.
To assist the Department in complying with the specific
requirements of Executive Order 12866, the Secretary invites comment on
how to minimize potential costs or to increase potential benefits
resulting from these proposed regulations consistent with the purposes
of the Student Right-to-Know Act.

2. Clarity of the Regulations

Executive Order 12866 requires each agency to write regulations
that are easy to understand.
The Secretary invites comments on how to make these regulations
easier to understand, including answers to questions such as the
following: (1) Are the requirements in the regulations clearly stated?
(2) Do the regulations contain technical terms or other wording that
interferes with their clarity? (3) Does the format of the regulations
(grouping and order of sections, use of headings, paragraphing, etc.)
aid or reduce their clarity? Would the regulations be easier to
understand if they were divided into more (but shorter) sections? (A
``section'' is preceded by the symbol ``Sec. '' and a numbered heading:
For example, Sec. 668.46 Report on completion or graduation rates). (4)
Is the description of the proposed regulating in the ``Supplementary
Information'' section of this preamble helpful in understanding the
proposed regulations? How could this description be more helpful in
making the proposed regulations easier to understand? (5) What else
could the Department do to make the regulations easier to understand?
A copy of any comments that concern how the Department could make
these proposed regulations easier to understand should be sent to Mr.
Stanley M. Cohen, Regulations Quality Officer, U.S. Department of
Education, 600 Independence Avenue SW. (room 5121, FOB-10), Washington,
DC 20202-2241.

Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

Sections 668.41, 668.46 and 668.49 contain information collection
requirements. As required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the
Department of Education has submitted a copy of these sections to the
Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for its review.
Collection of Information: Student Right-to-Know.
These regulations affect the following types of entities eligible
to participate in the Title IV, HEA programs: Educational institutions
that are public or nonprofit institutions, and businesses and other
for-profit institutions. The information to be collected includes the
graduation rate of full-time, certificate- or degree-seeking
undergraduate students entering the institution; the number of students
attending the institution; the number of students attending the
institution who received athletically related student aid, broken down
by race and gender; the completion or graduation rate of full-time,
certificate- or degree-seeking undergraduate students broken down by
race and gender; the completion or graduation rate of full-time,
certificate- or degree-seeking undergraduate students who received
athletically related student aid, broken down by race and gender within
each sport; and the average completion or graduation rate of full-time,
certificate- or degree-seeking undergraduate students for the four most
recent completing or graduating classes, broken down by race and
gender. Institutions of higher education that participate in title IV,
HEA programs will need and use the information required by these
regulations to meet the eligibility requirements for participation in
those programs that were added by the Student Right-to-Know Act.
Institutions must make available to current and prospective students
the information regarding completion or graduation rates of full-time,
certificate- or degree-seeking, undergraduate students described above,
and the general and completion or graduation rate information of
students who received athletically related student aid to students
offered athletically related student aid, and to the parents, coaches,
and guidance counselors of those students. Institutions that award
athletically related student aid must also provide a report to the
Secretary of the completion or graduation rate information those
institutions must provide to students offered athletically related
student aid. The Secretary needs and uses this report to fulfill
statutory requirements under the Student Right-to-Know Act to publish
that information broken down by institution and athletic conference.
Information is to be collected and disclosed once each year for
institutions covered by Secs. 668.41(a)(3) and 668.46, and collected,
disclosed, and reported to the Secretary once each year for
institutions covered by Secs. 668.41(b) and 668.49. Annual public
reporting and recordkeeping burden is estimated to average 24.5 hours
for each response for 8,000 respondents for Sec. 668.46, and 24.5

[[Page 49162]]
hours for each response for 1,800 respondents for Sec. 668.49. These
hours include the time needed for searching existing data sources and
gathering, maintaining and disclosing the data. Educational
institutions that are public or nonprofit institutions or businesses or
other for-profit institutions may participate in the Title IV, HEA
programs. Institutions of higher education that participate in title
IV, HEA programs will need and use the information required by these
regulations to meet the eligibility requirements for participation in
those programs that were added by the Student Right-to-Know Act. Thus,
the total annual reporting and recordkeeping burden for this proposed
collection is estimated to be 240,100 hours.
Organizations and individuals desiring to submit comments on the
information collection requirements should direct them to the Office of
Information and Regulatory Affairs, OMB, Room 10235, New Executive
Office Building, Washington, DC 20503; Attention: Desk Officer for U.S.
Department of Education.
The Department considers comments by the public on these proposed
collections of information in--
Evaluating whether the proposed collections of information are
necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the
Department, including whether the information will have practical use;
Evaluating the accuracy of the Department's estimate of the burden
of the proposed collections of information, including the validity of
the methodology and assumptions used;
Enhancing the quality, usefulness, and clarity of the information
to be collected; and
Minimizing the burden of the collection of information on those who
are to respond, including the use of appropriate automated, electronic,
mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms
of information technology; e.g., permitting electronic submission of
responses.
OMB is required to make a decision concerning the collections of
information contained in these proposed regulations between 30 and 60
days after publication of this document in the Federal Register.
Therefore, a comment to OMB is best assured of having its full effect
if OMB receives it within 30 days of publication. This does not affect
the deadline for the public to comment to the Department on the
proposed regulations.

Invitation To Comment

Interested persons are invited to submit comments and
recommendations regarding these proposed regulations.
All comments submitted in response to these proposed regulations
will be available for public inspection, during and after the comment
period, in Room 3045, Regional Office Building 3, 7th and D Streets
SW., Washington, DC, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday
through Friday of each week except Federal holidays.

Assessment of Educational Impact

The Secretary particularly requests comments on whether the
proposed regulations in this document would require transmission of
information that is being gathered by or is available from any other
agency or authority of the United States.

List of Subjects in 34 CFR Part 668

Administrative practice and procedure, Colleges and universities,
Consumer protection, Education, Grant programs--education, Loan
programs--education, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Student
aid.

Dated: September 14, 1995.
Richard W. Riley,
Secretary of Education.
(Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Numbers: 84.007 Federal
Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant Program; 84.032 Federal
Stafford Loan Program; 84.032 Federal PLUS Program; 84.032 Federal
Supplemental Loans for Students Program; 84.033 Federal Work-Study
Program; 84.038 Federal Perkins Loan Program; 84.063 Federal Pell
Grant Program; 84.069 State Student Incentive Grant Program; 84.268
Federal Direct Student Loan Program; and 84.272 National
Intervention and Scholarship and Partnership Program. Catalog of
Federal Domestic Assistance Number for the Presidential Access
Scholarship Program has not been assigned.)

The Secretary proposes to amend part 668 of title 34 of the Code of
Federal Regulations as follows:

PART 668--STUDENT ASSISTANCE GENERAL PROVISIONS

1. The authority citation for part 668 continues to read as
follows:

Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1085, 1088, 1091, 1092, 1094, 1099c and
1141, unless otherwise noted.

2. Section 668.41 is amended by adding a new paragraph (a)(3);
redesignating paragraph (b) as paragraph (c) and revising the newly
redesignated paragraph (c); and by adding new paragraph (b) to read as
follows:


Sec. 668.41 Scope and special definitions.

(a) * * *
(3) The institution's completion or graduation rate, produced in
accordance with Sec. 668.46.
(b)(1) Each institution participating in any title IV, HEA program,
when it offers a potential student-athlete athletically related student
aid, shall provide to the potential student-athlete, and his or her
parents, high school coach, and guidance counselor, the information on
graduation rates and other data produced in accordance with
Sec. 668.49.
(2) The institution shall also submit to the Secretary the report
produced in accordance with Sec. 668.49 by July 1, 1997 and by every
July 1 thereafter.
(c) The following definitions apply to this subpart:
Athletically related student aid means any scholarship, grant, or
other form of financial assistance, offered by an institution, the
terms of which require the recipient to participate in a program of
intercollegiate athletics at the institution in order to receive that
assistance.
Full-time means the student workload, measured in credit or clock
hours, that the institution customarily designates as a full-time
workload.
Normal time means the amount of time necessary for a full-time
student continuously attending the institution to complete a
certificate or degree program.
Prospective students means individuals who have contacted an
eligible institution requesting information concerning admission to
that institution.

(Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1092)

3. Section 668.46 is added to subpart D, to read as follows:


Sec. 668.46 Information on completion or graduation rates.

(a) An institution shall prepare annually information regarding the
completion or graduation rate of the certificate- or degree-seeking,
full-time undergraduate students entering that institution on or after
July 1, 1996.
(1)(i) An institution must base its completion or graduation rate
calculation on the group of certificate- or degree-seeking, full-time
undergraduate students who enter the institution between every July 1st
and June 30th.
(ii) An institution shall count as entering students--
(A) First-time students; and
(B) Students who enter the institution by transfer.
(2)(i) Beginning with the group of students who enter the
institution between July 1, 1996 and June 30, 1997,

[[Page 49163]]
an institution shall disclose its graduation or completion rate
information no later than the October 1 immediately following the point
in time when 150% of the normal time for completion or graduation has
elapsed for all the students in the group.
(ii) An institution shall disclose no later than October 1 each
year thereafter its completion or graduation rate information for each
succeeding group of students who, as of the preceding June 30,
completed or graduated within 150% of normal time for completion or
graduation from their programs.
(b)(1) In calculating the completion or graduation rate under
paragraph (a) of this section, an institution shall count as completed
or graduated--
(i) Students who have completed or graduated within 150% of the
normal time for completion or graduation from their program;
(ii) Students who, within 150% of the normal time for completion or
graduation from the program in which the student was enrolled,
subsequently enroll in any program of an eligible institution for which
the prior program provides substantial preparation; or
(iii) Students who are in good standing and still enrolled in a
program of greater length than the length of the program on which the
institution bases its reporting date, unless 150% of the normal time
for graduation or completion from that longer program has elapsed by
the reporting date.
(2) For the purpose of calculating a completion or graduation rate,
an institution may exclude from the calculation of completion or
graduation rates students who--
(i) Have left school to serve in the Armed Forces;
(ii) Have left school to serve on official church missions;
(iii) Have left school to serve with a foreign aid service of the
Federal Government, such as the Peace Corps; or
(iv) Are deceased, or totally and permanently disabled.
(c) In reporting the graduation or completion rate as calculated in
paragraph (b) of this section, the institution shall, as part of its
disclosure of its overall rate of graduation or completion rate,
disclose the ratio of each of the following to the group:
(1) The number of students who graduated or completed, as described
in paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this section.
(2) The number of students who transferred, as described in
paragraph (b)(1)(ii) of this section.
(3) The number of students who are persisting in programs that are
longer than the program on which the disclosure date is based, as
described in paragraph (b)(1)(iii) of this section, if the institution
includes these students in its graduation or completion rate.
(d)(1) The Secretary grants a waiver of the requirements of this
section to any institution that is a member of an athletic association
or conference that has voluntarily published completion or graduation
rate data, or has agreed to publish data, that the Secretary determines
are substantially comparable to the data required by this section.
(2) An institution, or athletic association or conference applying
on behalf of an institution, that seeks a waiver under paragraph (d)(1)
of this section shall submit a written application to the Secretary
that explains why it believes the data the athletic association or
conference publishes are accurate and substantially comparable to the
information required by this section.

(Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1092)

4. Section 668.49 is added to subpart D, to read as follows:


Sec. 668.49 Report on completion or graduation rates for student-
athletes

(a)(1) By July 1, 1997, and by every July 1 thereafter, each
institution that is attended by students receiving athletically related
student aid shall produce an annual report containing the following
information:
(i) The number of students, categorized by race and gender, who
attended that institution during the year prior to the submission of
the report.
(ii) The number of students described in paragraph (a)(1)(i) of
this section who received athletically related student aid, categorized
by race and gender within each sport.
(iii) The completion or graduation rate of all the entering,
certificate- or degree-seeking, full-time, undergraduate students
described in Sec. 668.46(a)(1)(i) and Sec. 668.46(a)(1)(ii),
categorized by race and gender.
(iv) The completion or graduation rate of the entering students
described in Sec. 668.46(a)(1)(i) and Sec. 668.46(a)(1)(ii) who
received athletically related student aid, categorized by race and
gender within each sport.
(v) The average completion or graduation rate for the four most
recent completing or graduating classes of entering students described
in Sec. 668.46(a)(1)(i) and Sec. 668.46(a)(1)(ii), categorized by race
and gender. If an institution has completion or graduation rates for
fewer than four of those classes, it shall disclose the average rate of
those classes for which it has rates.
(2) For purposes of this section, sport means--
(i) Basketball;
(ii) Football;
(iii) Baseball;
(iv) Cross-country and track combined; and
(v) All other sports combined.
(b) The provisions of Sec. 668.46(b) and (c) apply for purposes of
calculating the completion or graduation rates required under
paragraphs (a)(1)(iii), (a)(1)(iv), and (a)(1)(v) of this section.
(c) Each institution of higher education described in paragraph (a)
of this section may also provide to students and the Secretary
supplemental information containing--
(i) The graduation or completion rate of the students who
transferred into the institution; and
(ii) The number of students who transferred out of the institution.
(d) Section 668.46(d) applies for purposes of this section.

(Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1092)

[FR Doc. 95-23389 Filed 9-20-95; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4000-01-P



]

Last Modified: 06/28/1998