Publication Date: February 26, 2008
Page Numbers: 10233-10235
Summary: Notice inviting letters of application for participation in the
Quality Assurance Program
Posted on 02-26-2008
[Federal Register: February 26, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 38)]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
The Federal Student Aid Programs Under Title IV of the Higher
Education Act of 1965, as Amended
AGENCY: Department of Education.
ACTION: Notice inviting letters of application for participation in the
Quality Assurance Program.
SUMMARY: The Secretary of Education invites institutions of higher
education that may wish to participate in the Quality Assurance
Program, under section 487A(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA),
to submit a letter of application to participate in the program.
DATES: Letters of application may be submitted any time after February 26, 2008.
ADDRESSES: Institutions may apply to participate in the Quality
Assurance Program by mailing a letter of application to Barbara Mroz,
Federal Student Aid, U.S. Department of Education, 830 First Street,
NE., Washington, DC 20202-5232 or by submitting a letter of application
electronically to Barbara Mroz at: Barbara.Mroz@ed.gov.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Warren Farr, Federal Student Aid, U.S.
Department of Education, 830 First Street, NE., UCP-3, Room 83G4,
Washington, DC 20202-5232; telephone: (202) 377-4380, or via the
If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), you may
call the Federal Relay Service (FRS) at 1-800-877-8339.
Individuals with disabilities may obtain this document in an
alternative format (e.g., Braille, large print, audio tape or computer
diskette) on request by contacting the person listed under FOR FURTHER
Institutions of higher education are invited to join the Department
in an effort to simplify regulations and administrative processes for
the Federal Student Aid Programs authorized by Title IV of the Higher
Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA). The vision of the Quality
Assurance Program, with 151 institutions currently participating, is to
provide tools that help all institutions of higher education
participating in the Federal Student Aid Programs to promote better
service to students, compliance with title IV requirements, and
continuous improvement in program delivery. The Quality Assurance
Program encourages participating institutions to develop and implement
their own comprehensive systems to verify student financial aid
application data, and continually assess compliance with Federal
The Secretary is authorized to waive for any institution
participating in the Quality Assurance Program any regulations dealing
with reporting or verification requirements, thus providing
participating institutions with regulatory flexibility for the
verification of student data, and encouraging alternative approaches
that improve award accuracy.
The Secretary believes that the process of continuous improvement
fostered by the institutions already participating in the Quality
Assurance Program has enhanced not only the accuracy of student aid
awards and payments, but also the management of student aid offices and
the delivery of services to students.
Features of the Program
The mission of the Quality Assurance Program is to help schools
attain, sustain, and advance exceptional student aid delivery and
service excellence. For the past 22 years, the program has achieved its
goal by providing participating institutions with the flexibility to
design an institutional verification program that more directly focuses
on their own population segments. It has also helped them target areas
of administration that affect award accuracy or that may leave the
institution vulnerable to potential liabilities.
The Quality Assurance Program has given institutions the tools and
techniques to assess, measure, analyze, correct and prevent problems,
and has provided them with data on which to base their decisions for
solving problems and addressing verification issues.
The Secretary encourages institutions participating in the Quality
Assurance Program to evaluate their student aid or verification
policies and procedures and adopt improvements in those procedures.
Institutions measure performance and test the effectiveness of their
verification program by using the Department's Institutional Student
Information Record (ISIR) Analysis Tool. The ISIR Analysis Tool is a
web-based software product that provides financial aid administrators
with an in-depth analysis of their applicant population. It allows them
to see not only which elements on the student's Free Application for
Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) changed when verified, but also what impact
these changes have upon the student's Expected Family Contribution
(EFC) and aid eligibility. This analysis helps financial aid
administrators develop a targeted institutional verification program,
which ultimately makes the financial aid process easier for students,
while ensuring accountability and integrity.
The Quality Assurance Program also helps institutions make
improvements beyond verification and basic compliance. By using the
Federal Student Aid Assessments, schools can set goals for continuous
improvement in all areas of financial aid delivery. One key benefit of
the program is the partnership between the Department and the
participating institutions. Both parties become engaged in promoting
continuous improvement in the administration and delivery of the
Federal Student Aid Programs, thereby enhancing service to students.
Invitation for Applications
The Secretary invites institutions of higher education that
administer one or more Title IV programs to submit a letter of
application to participate in the Quality Assurance Program.
Institutions that currently participate in the program may continue to
do so without submitting a new letter of application. The Secretary
will review the letter of application, which should reflect the
institution's commitment to the goals of the Quality Assurance Program,
as determined by the Secretary. In the letter of application, the
institution should state its Quality Assurance plan as well as what it
will measure to achieve the following goals in detail:
Attain and sustain compliance and continuous improvement
in program delivery, and better service to students;
Improve the accuracy of institutional verification
Increase institutional flexibility in managing student aid
funds, while maintaining accountability for the proper use of those
Encourage the development of innovative management
approaches that advance process quality.
The Department will screen prospective participants to determine if
the institution meets general Title IV eligibility requirements and has
a demonstrated record of program compliance. The Secretary may also
consider the institution's performance with regard to financial
responsibility, administrative capability, program review findings,
audit findings, etc. as outlined in the regulations and in the Federal
Student Aid Handbook.
Electronic Access to This Document
You may view this document, as well as all other documents of this
Department published in the Federal Register, in text or Adobe Portable
Document Format (PDF) on the Internet at the following site:
To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available
free at this site. If you have questions about using PDF, call the U.S.
Government Printing Office (GPO), toll free, at
l-888-293-6498; or in the Washington, DC area at (202) 512-1530.
Note: The official version of this document is the document
published in the Federal Register. Free Internet access to the
official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal
Regulations is available on GPO Access at:
Program Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1094a.
Dated: February 21, 2008.
Lawrence A. Warder, Acting Chief Operating Officer, Federal Student Aid.
[FR Doc. E8-3616 Filed 2-25-08; 8:45 am]
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