As noted previously in Today's News, NASFAA is seeking help from members to identify regulations that should be recommended to the Department of Education (ED) as in need of repeal, replacement, or modification. The initial article in this series explained the basis of this solicitation and requested input on verification. The second article sought opinions on rules related to the return of Title IV funds for withdrawn students, and on the Direct Loan Program. Today we seek member thoughts on regulations governing the Pell Grant and campus-based programs, and issues related to non-traditional program formats.
Please give your recommendations either as a comment to this article, or in an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, using the subject line "Regulatory Reform."
When submitting your recommendations, you may want to consider the following:
Many provisions related to Title IV administration are statutory in nature; regulations cannot alter law. This solicitation focuses on what can be accomplished solely through regulatory changes. (Efforts to amend the law are encompassed by NASFAA's reauthorization initiatives.) However, regulations represent ED's interpretations of statute and impose other requirements it deems necessary to implement the Title IV programs. For example, the law requires that an institution's procedures for selecting recipients are designed to award Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG) "first, to students with exceptional need" and to give "a priority… to students who receive Pell Grants." The law defines "students with exceptional need" to mean "students with the lowest expected family contributions at the institution." The requirement to award FSEOG in lowest Expected Family Contribution (EFC) order, rather than establishing an EFC cut-off, is ED's interpretation of the law.
In the Federal Work-Study (FWS) Program, the requirement to expend funds on tutoring and community service is set in law, as is the definition of community service. ED interprets the definition of community itself and establishes policies refining the allowable nature of FWS-eligible employment. In the Pell Grant Program, limitations on lifetime eligibility are set in law, as are the factors that lead to construction of the payment and disbursement tables. Regulations establish the formulas for calculating payments and payment periods within an award year. Recalculation requirements (including the ability to set census dates) are regulatory issues.
Most of the regulations governing the Title IV programs evolved at a time when academic program formats were traditionally standard. With changes in technology, institutional mission, and workforce needs, formats for offering education have expanded ever more into nontraditional modes. Complying with tradition-oriented regulations can be akin to forcing square pegs into round holes. If your school offers nontraditional program formats, what regulatory requirements do you find inhibit innovation?
Thank you for continuing to submit your suggestions on these and other topical areas.
Publication Date: 8/4/2017