Experimental Sites Initiative Closing Four Experiments

[Editor's note: This story is still developing. It is unclear as of yet which projects, other than the two Pell experiments, are ending. NASFAA will provide an update in Today's News as more information becomes available.]

By Joan Berkes, Policy & Federal Relations Staff

NASFAA has received reports from members participating in certain experiments in the Experimental Sites Initiative (ESI) that four currently active experiments will end as of June 30, 2017. Letters sent to participants from the Department of Education (ED) state that the following experiments are ending because “evaluation of data collected from the small number of institutions participating in each experiment has not provided sufficient information to support continuation”:

  • Pell Grant Program – Eligibility of students with bachelor's degrees who enroll in vocational or career programs (Availability announced in Federal Register on 10/27/2011)

  • Pell Grant Program – Eligibility of students enrolled in certain short-term training programs (Availability announced in Federal Register on 10/27/2011)

  • Direct Loan Program – Limiting unsubsidized loan amounts (Over-Borrowing) (Availability announced in Federal Register on 10/27/2011)

  • Federal Work Study – Near Peer Counseling (Availability announced in Federal Register on 7/31/2014)

The letter from ED about the discontinuance of the above four projects assures the schools that the following experiments are continuing:

  • Prior Learning Assessment

  • Limited Direct Assessment

  • Competency Based Education

  • Educational Quality through Innovative Partnerships (EQUIP)

  • Second Chance Pell

  • Dual Enrollment

  • Loan Counseling

If your school has a signed PPA Amendment to participate in an experimental site, you might wish to check for letters from ED on the project. Letters were mailed to presidents with copies sent to the aid administrator. Questions about ESI may be sent to experimentalsites@ed.gov.

When announcing experiments in the Federal Register, ED explains that experiments under the ESI are “designed to test whether proposed changes to current requirements improve the administration of the Title IV programs. Substantiated improvements as a result of an experiment would provide a rationale for policymakers to consider changing the statutory or regulatory provision that was the focus of the experiment.” Although more information about the Experimental Sites Initiative may be seen at https://experimentalsites.ed.gov/, ED has not yet posted information about the discontinuance of the four experiments listed above.


Publication Date: 3/30/2017

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