NAICU Washington Update

Department Offers New Options for Experimental Sites

November 06, 2011

The Department of Education has published a notice inviting institutions to apply to participate in one or more of its experimental sites initiative.

This announcement marks the first time in nearly a decade that the administration has sought to use its authority to grant waivers from specific statutory or regulatory requirements in the administration of Title IV, Higher Education Act programs.  Under the HEA, experiments are "designed to test whether proposed changes to current requirements improve the administration of the Title IV programs."  Based on the success of the experiment, policy makers might recommend changes to current statute or regulations.

Because the waivers are considered experiments, colleges receiving them are expected to set them up as "treatment" and "control" groups. The colleges must also "gather and report data need by the department for this purpose."
The experiments, described in detail in the announcement, include providing eligibility for Pell Grants to students with bachelor's degrees who enroll in vocational or career or short-term training programs; single and early loan disbursement for study abroad; limiting unsubsidized loan amounts; and student aid eligibility for student with intellectual disability who are also enrolled in high school.

Applications to participate in any experiment should be received by the Department by December 12.

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