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Subject: System of Records--Free Application for
Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Completion Study

Publication Date: March 15, 2013

Posted Date: March 15, 2013

Subject: System of Records--Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Completion Study

FR Type: Notice


[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 51 (Friday, March 15, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 16481-16483]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-06073]

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

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION


Privacy Act of 1974; System of Records--Free Application for 
Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Completion Study

AGENCY: Institute of Education Sciences, Department of Education.

ACTION: Notice of a new system of records.

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

SUMMARY: In accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, 
(Privacy Act), the Department of Education (Department) publishes this 
notice of a new system of records entitled "The FAFSA Completion 
Study" (18-13-34).

DATES: The Department seeks comment on the new system of records 
described in this notice, in accordance with the requirements of the 
Privacy Act. We must receive your comments on the proposed routine uses 
for the system of records referenced in this notice on or before April 
15, 2013.
    The Department filed a report describing the new system of records 
covered by this notice with the Chair of the Senate Committee on 
Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, the Chair of the House 
Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and the Administrator of 
the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management 
and Budget (OMB) on March 12, 2013. This system of records will become 
effective at the later date of--(1) the expiration of the 40-day period 
for OMB review on April 22, 2013, unless OMB waives 10 days of the 40-
day review period for compelling reasons shown by the Department, or 
(2) April 15, 2013, unless the system of records needs to be changed as 
a result of public comment or OMB review.

ADDRESSES: Address all comments about this new system of records to Dr. 
Audrey Pendleton, Associate Commissioner, Evaluation Division, National 
Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Institute of 
Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, 555 New Jersey Avenue 
NW., Room 502D, Washington, DC 20208-0001. Telephone: (202) 208-7078. 
If you prefer to send comments through the Internet, use the following 
address: comments@ed.gov.
    You must include the term "FAFSA Completion Study" in the subject 
line of the electronic message.
    During and after the comment period, you may inspect all comments 
about this notice at the U.S. Department of Education in room 502D, 555 
New Jersey Avenue NW., Washington, DC, between the hours of 8:00 a.m. 
and 4:30 p.m., Eastern Time, Monday through Friday of each week except 
Federal holidays.

Assistance to Individuals With Disabilities in Reviewing the Rulemaking 
Record

    On request we will provide an appropriate accommodation or 
auxiliary aid to an individual with a disability, such as a reader or 
print magnifier, who needs assistance to review the comments or other 
documents in the public rulemaking record for this notice. If you want 
to schedule an appointment for this type of accommodation or auxiliary 
aid, please contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION 
CONTACT.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dr. Marsha Silverberg. Telephone: 
(202) 208-7178. If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf 
(TDD) or a text telephone (TTY), call the Federal Relay Service (FRS), 
toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.
    Individuals with disabilities can obtain this document in an 
accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, audiotape, or compact 
disc) on request to the contact person listed in this section.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Introduction

    The Privacy Act (5 U.S.C. 552a) requires the Department to publish 
in the Federal Register this notice of a new system of records 
maintained by the Department. The Department's regulations implementing 
the Privacy Act are contained in part 5b of Title 34 of the Code of 
Federal Regulations (CFR).
    The Privacy Act applies to any record about an individual that is 
maintained in a system of records from which individually identifying 
information is retrieved by a unique identifier associated with each 
individual, such as a name or Social Security Number. The information 
about each individual is called a "record," and the system, whether 
manual or computer-based, is called a ``system of records.''
    The Privacy Act requires each agency to publish a notice of a 
system of records in the Federal Register and to prepare and send a 
report to OMB

[[Page 16482]]

whenever the agency publishes a new system of records or makes a 
significant change to an established system of records. Each agency is 
also required to send copies of the report to the Chair of the Senate 
Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and the Chair 
of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. These 
reports are inc1uded to permit an evaluation of the probable effect of 
the proposal on the privacy rights of individuals.
    The National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional 
Assistance at the Department's Institute of Education Sciences (IES) is 
conducting an evaluation of the impacts of the Department's providing 
school districts with access to data on individual students' Free 
Application for Student Aid (FAFSA). Districts and their schools are 
expected to implement targeted outreach to seniors and their families 
who have not completed the FAFSA. This study is authorized by section 
173(a)(1)(A) of the Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002 (ESRA) (20 
U.S.C. 9563(a)(1)(A)), which authorizes the National Center for 
Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance to conduct evaluations of 
Federal education programs administered by the Secretary and to 
determine the impact of such programs. The study will compare students 
from schools with access to students' FAFSA completion data to students 
from similar schools without access to FAFSA completion data in order 
to assess the effects of access to FAFSA completion data on FAFSA 
completion rates, Federal financial aid receipt, and college 
enrollment. IES staff are conducting the study, although they may 
receive some assistance from an existing technical support contract.
    The study will provide credible and reliable information to help 
guide future policy decisions in the area of Federal financial aid. The 
central research questions that the study will address are: What is the 
impact of school access to individual FAFSA completion data on 
students' applications for Federal student aid? Does this access 
increase receipt of Federal student aid? Does this access affect 
college enrollment?
    The system will contain records on approximately 180,000 students 
from 80 participating school districts. Electronic Access to This 
Document: 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 via the Federal Digital System at: www.gpo.gov/fdsys. At this 
site you can 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). To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, 
which is available free at the site.
    You may also access documents of the Department published in the 
Federal Register by using the article search feature at: 
www.federalregister.gov. Specifically, through the advanced search 
feature at this site, you can limit your search to documents published 
by the Department.

    Dated: March 12, 2013.
John Q. Easton,
Director, Institute of Education Sciences.

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Director of the 
Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, 
publishes a notice of a new system of records to read as follows:
SYSTEM NUMBER: 18-13-34

SYSTEM NAME:
    The FAFSA Completion Study.

SECURITY CLASSIFICATION:
    None.

SYSTEM LOCATIONS:
    (1) Evaluation Division, National Center for Education Evaluation 
and Regional Assistance, Institute of Education Sciences (IES), U.S. 
Department of Education, 555 New Jersey Avenue NW., Room 502D, 
Washington, DC 20208-0001.
    (2) Decision Information Resources, Inc., 2600 Southwest Freeway, 
Suite 900, Houston, Texas 77098-[Insert the last four digits of ZIP 
code] (contractor).
    (3) Abt Associates, 4550 Montgomery Avenue, Suite 800 North, 
Bethesda, MD 20814-3343 (subcontractor).

CATEGORIES OF INDIVIDUALS COVERED BY THE SYSTEM:
    The system will contain records on approximately 180,000 students 
from 80 school districts.

CATEGORIES OF RECORDS IN THE SYSTEM:
    The system of records includes student directory information, as 
described in 34 CFR 99.3, 99.31(a)(11), and 99.37, obtained from school 
districts that agree to participate in the study. For the participating 
school districts, the student directory information on those students 
who have not opted out of the disclosure of their directory information 
includes the student's name, birth date, and zip code. This system of 
records also includes information on the student's FAFSA completion 
status and the resulting financial aid received by the student, which 
is obtained from the Department's Office of Federal Student Aid.

AUTHORITY FOR MAINTENANCE OF THE SYSTEM:
    The study is authorized by section 173(a)(1)(A) of the Education 
Sciences Reform Act of 2002 (ESRA) (20 U.S.C. 9563(a)(1)(A)), which 
authorizes the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional 
Assistance to conduct evaluations of Federal education programs 
administered by the Secretary and to determine the impact of such 
programs.

PURPOSE(S):
    The information contained in the records maintained in this system 
will support an evaluation of the impacts of the Department's providing 
school districts with access to data on individual students' Free 
Application for Student Aid (FAFSA). Districts and their schools are 
expected to implement targeted outreach to seniors and their families 
who have not completed the FAFSA. The study will compare students from 
schools with access to students' FAFSA completion data to students from 
similar schools without access to the students' FAFSA completion data 
in order to assess the effects of access to FAFSA completion data on 
FAFSA completion rates, Federal financial aid receipt, and college 
enrollment. The study will address the following research questions:
    1. What is the impact of school access to the completion data on 
students' applications for Federal student aid? With completion of a 
FAFSA a necessary prerequisite for obtaining federal student aid, the 
most direct goal of the project is to increase rates of FAFSA form 
completions; the evaluation will examine whether this is the case.
    2. What is the impact on students' receipt of Federal student aid? 
Receipt of financial aid is the key gateway to college enrollment. In 
addition, it is possible that school's project efforts could increase 
not only FAFSA application completion rates but also the accuracy and 
quality of the information provided, thereby making students more 
likely to receive aid.
    3. What is the impact on college enrollment? Ultimately, the 
Department hopes that providing schools with access to individual 
student FAFSA data will--through increased receipt of financial aid--
also increase college enrollment.

[[Page 16483]]

ROUTINE USES OF RECORDS MAINTAINED IN THE SYSTEM, INCLUDING CATEGORIES 
OF USERS AND THE PURPOSES OF SUCH USES:
    The Department may disclose information contained in a record in 
this system of records under the routine uses listed in this system of 
records without the consent of the individual if the disclosure is 
compatible with the purposes for which the record was collected. These 
disclosures may be made on a case-by-case basis or, if the Department 
has complied with the computer matching requirements of the Privacy Act 
of 1974, as amended (Privacy Act), under a computer matching agreement. 
Any disclosure of individually identifiable information from a record 
in this system must also comply with the requirements of section 183 of 
the ESRA (20 U.S.C. 9573) providing for confidentiality standards that 
apply to all collections, reporting, and publication of data by IES.
    (1) Contract Disclosure. If the Department contracts with an entity 
for the purposes of performing any function that requires disclosure of 
records in this system to employees of the contractor, the Department 
may disclose the records to those employees. Before entering into such 
a contract, the Department shall require the contractor to maintain 
Privacy Act safeguards as required under 5 U.S.C. 552a(m) with respect 
to the records in the system.
    (2) Research Disclosure. The Director of the Institute of Education 
Sciences may disclose information from this system of records to 
qualified researchers solely for the purpose of carrying out specific 
research that is compatible with the purpose(s) of this system of 
records. The researcher shall be required to maintain safeguards under 
the Privacy Act and section 183 of the ESRA (20 U.S.C. 9573(c)) with 
respect to such records. When personally identifiable information from 
a student's education record, other than directory information, will be 
disclosed to the researcher under the Family Educational Rights and 
Privacy Act (FERPA), the researcher also shall be required to comply 
with the requirements in the applicable FERPA exception to consent.

DISCLOSURE TO CONSUMER REPORTING AGENCIES:
    Not applicable to this system of records.

POLICIES AND PRACTICES FOR STORING, RETRIEVING, ACCESSING, RETAINING, 
AND DISPOSING OF RECORDS IN THE SYSTEM:
STORAGE:
    The Department maintains records on CD-ROM, and should IES' 
technical support contractor (Decision Information Resources, Inc.) and 
sub-contractor (Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.) be asked to provide 
assistance, they will maintain data for this system on computers and in 
hard copy.

RETRIEVABILITY:
    Records in this system are indexed and retrieved by a number 
assigned to each individual that is cross-referenced by the 
individual's name on a separate list.

SAFEGUARDS:
    All physical access to the Department's site and to the sites of 
the Department's contractor and subcontractor, where this system of 
records may be maintained, is controlled and monitored by security 
personnel. The computer system employed by the Department offers a high 
degree of resistance to tampering and circumvention. This security 
system limits data access to Department and contract staff on a need-
to-know basis, and controls individual users' ability to access and 
alter records within the system. The contractor and subcontractor, 
should they be asked to provide technical support, will establish a 
similar set of procedures at their sites to ensure confidentiality of 
data. The contractor's and subcontractor's systems are required to 
ensure that information identifying individuals is in files physically 
separated from other research data. The contractor and subcontractor 
will maintain security of the complete set of all master data files and 
documentation. Access to individually identifying data will be strictly 
controlled. All data will be kept in locked file cabinets during 
nonworking hours, and work on hardcopy data will take place in a single 
room, except for data entry. Physical security of electronic data will 
also be maintained. Security features that protect project data 
include: Password-protected accounts that authorize users to use the 
contractor's system but to access only specific network directories and 
network software; user rights and directory and file attributes that 
limit those who can use particular directories and files and determine 
how they can use them; and additional security features that the 
network administrators will establish for projects as needed. The 
contractor's and subcontractor's employees who "maintain" (collect, 
maintain, use, or disseminate) data in this system shall comply with 
the requirements of the confidentiality standards in section 183 of the 
ESRA (20 U.S.C. 9573).

RETENTION AND DISPOSAL:
    Records are maintained and disposed of in accordance with the 
Department's Records Disposition Schedule ED 068.a (NARA Disposition 
Authority N1-441-08-18).

SYSTEM MANAGER AND ADDRESS:
    Associate Commissioner, Evaluation Division, National Center for 
Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Institute of Education 
Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, 555 New Jersey Avenue NW., Room 
502D, Washington, DC 20208-0001.

NOTIFICATION PROCEDURE:
    If you wish to determine whether a record exists regarding you in 
the system of records, contact the systems manager. Your request must 
meet the requirements of regulations at 34 CFR 5b.5, including proof of 
identity.

RECORD ACCESS PROCEDURE:
    If you wish to gain access to your record in the system of records, 
contact the system manager. Your request must meet the requirements of 
regulations at 34 CFR 5b.5, including proof of identity.

CONTESTING RECORD PROCEDURE:
    If you wish to contest the content of a record regarding you in the 
system of records, contact the system manager. Your request must meet 
the requirements of the regulations at 34 CFR 5b.7, including proof of 
identity.

RECORD SOURCE CATEGORIES:
    This system contains records on students participating in the FAFSA 
Completion Study. Data will be obtained through student directory 
information maintained by participating school districts and data 
extracts from the Office of Federal Student Aid.

EXEMPTIONS CLAIMED FOR THE SYSTEM:
    None.

[FR Doc. 2013-06073 Filed 3-14-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4000-01-P
 


Last Modified: 03/14/2013