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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 of 1965, as amended, to submit a letter of application to participate beginni

FR part
V
Attachments:
PublicationDate: 9/9/98
FRPart: V
RegPartsAffected:
PageNumbers: 48411-48413
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 of 1965, as amended, to submit a letter of application to participate beginning with the 1998-1999 award year. An institution that wishes to apply may do so by: (1) Mailing a letter of application to Barbara Mroz, U.S. Department of Education, 600 Independence Avenue, SW (Room 3925, ROB-3), Washington, DC 20202-5232; (2) faxing its application to (202) 708-9485; or (3) submitting its application electronically to Mr. Warren Farr at Warren__Farr@Ed.gov or Mr. John Hill at john_Hill@ED.gov.
CommentDueDate:

  
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[Federal Register: September 9, 1998 (Volume 63, Number 174)]
[Notices]
[Page 48411-48413]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr09se98-116]


[[Page 48411]]

_______________________________________________________________________

Part V





Department of Education





_______________________________________________________________________



Federal Student Assistance Programs Under Title IV of the Higher
Education Act of 1965, as Amended; Notice


[[Page 48412]]



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
Assurance Program.

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

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 of 1965, as amended, to
submit a letter of application to participate beginning with the 1998-
1999 award year. An institution that wishes to apply may do so by: (1)
Mailing a letter of application to Barbara Mroz, U.S. Department of
Education, 600 Independence Avenue, SW (Room 3925, ROB-3), Washington,
DC 20202-5232; (2) faxing its application to (202) 708-9485; or (3)
submitting its application electronically to Mr. Warren Farr at
Warren__Farr@Ed.gov or Mr. John Hill at John__Hill@Ed.gov.

DATES: Applications may be submitted any time after September 9, 1998.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
John Hill, 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 Friday. Individuals with
disabilities may obtain this document in an alternate format (e.g.,
Braille, large print, audio tape or computer diskette) on request to
the contract person listed in the preceding paragraph.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 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 of 1965, as amended (HEA).
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 quality assurance
reporting requirements for them.
The Department continues to support expansion of the QA Program to
include more comprehensive flexibility in areas such as institutional
processing and disbursements of Title IV funds, verification of student
financial aid application data, and student services.
Presently, 142 schools participate in the QA program, and the
Secretary has exempted these schools from several provisions of the
Student Assistance General Provisions regulations relating to
verification. Beginning with the 1998-99 award year, the Secretary
intends to expand the QA Program by increasing the number of schools
that participate in it.

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 1998-1999 award year.
Institutions that currently participate in the program may continue to
do so without submitting new applications. Because training workshops
will be scheduled during the 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.
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 reflects the institution's commitment to the
Secretary's current quality assurance goals. Those goals are the
following:
(1) To improve the accuracy of Title IV student aid awards;
(2) To increase institutional flexibility in managing student aid
funds while maintain accountability for the proper use of those funds;
(3) To encourage the development of innovative management
approaches; and
(4) To place responsibility for quality control and quality
improvement at the point where funds and services are delivered--the
institution.

Features of the Program

The QA Program is a management tool for the institutions and an
alternative oversight strategy for the Federal government. Institutions
are given the flexibility to conduct self-assessments to find their
strengths and weaknesses. Institutions are also provided with a
methodology to measure findings and design corrective measures for
quality improvements.
QA is a program that works at large research institutions, as well
as 2-year colleges, and at public, private, and proprietary
institutions. It provides participants with the tools, techniques, and
framework to change and improve the way they work. It is a partnership
between the Department and the participating institutions where both
parties become engaged in promoting continuous improvement in the
administration and delivery of the student financial assistance
programs and services.
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.
Institutions that participate in the QA program will be free to
develop and implement their own comprehensive verification systems. It
is the Secretary's intention to exempt QA institutions from certain
designated requirements in 34 CFR Part 668, Subpart E.
As provided by section 487A(b) of the HEA, the Secretary may
substitute other quality assurance reporting requirements that may be
necessary to ensure accountability and compliance with Title IV
programs.
The Secretary believes that the process of continuous improvement
in 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 also in the management of student
aid offices and the delivery of services to students.

Electronic Access to This Document

Anyone may view this document, as well as all other Department of
Education documents published in the Federal Register, in the text or
portable document format (pdf) on the World Wide Web at either of the
following sites:

http://ocfo.ed.gov/fedreg.htm
http://www.ed.gov/news.html

To use the pdf you must have the Adobe Acrobat Reader Program with

[[Page 48413]]

Search, which is available free at either of the previous sites. If you
have questions about using the pdf, call the U.S. Government Printing
Office toll free at 1-800-293-6498.
Anyone may also view these documents in text copy only on an
electronic bulletin board of the Department. Telephone (202) 219-1511
or, toll free, 1-800-222-4922. The documents are located under Option
G-files/Announcements, Bulletins and Press Releases.

Note: The official version of this document is the document
published in the Federal Register.

Authority: 42 U.S.C. 2753.

Dated: September 1, 1998.
David A. Longanecker,
Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education.
[FR Doc. 98-24088 Filed 9-8-98; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4000-01-M




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Last Modified: 09/09/1998