Higher education institutions must offer educational programs about the Constitution each year on September 17 (Constitution Day) in order to remain eligible for Title IV funding, thanks to a provision by Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) that was slipped into a 2004 spending bill.
Both NASFAA's Reauthorization Task Force and Consumer Information Task Force, in their final reports, recommended eliminating non-related requirements concerning Constitution Day, Voters Registration, and Athletic Disclosures from compliance within Title IV administration. These provisions have no bearing on Title IV student financial aid but instead contribute to the confusion regarding all the information that is disseminated as a condition of Title IV participation.
Fortunately, the law and accompanying regulations are incredibly flexible, allowing institutions to do just about anything to commemorate the Constitution's birthday and remain Title IV eligible. This includes speeches arguing that forcing colleges to honor Constitution Day is unconstitutional, as a Vanderbilt University law professor did when the law first went into effect. Institutions have taken full advantage of the flexibility given in the law and regulations resulting in a diversity of educational events at campuses that is matched only by the diversity of institutions in the U.S.
How does your institution commemorate Constitution Day in order to remain in compliance with the law? Tell us in the comments section below.
Publication Date: 9/15/2014