NASFAA convened the Modernizing Title IV Aid to Encourage and Accommodate Innovation in Higher Education task force over the spring of 2019 as an extension of 2015's Innovative Learning Models task force and in the context of the impending reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.
The task force was asked to:
In its work, the task force agreed that efforts to further foster innovation must include strong controls to prevent poor-performing programs and bad actors from gaining or maintaining eligibility to participate in the Title IV programs, in order to ensure that education quality is not a tradeoff for innovation. The group looked to international models for examples of how to balance controls to prevent fraud and abuse with providing the flexibility needed to innovate and experiment with new learning models. The group also consulted higher education policy experts to better inform their discussions.
Recommendations covered both broad, high-level policy topics such as lifting the student unit record ban, to more detailed operational recommendations like changes to measuring the quantitative component of Satisfactory Academic Progress and excluding certain student circumstances from the Return to Title IV Funds calculation requirement.
While endorsing many of the recommendations of the Innovative Learning Models task force, such as permitting Title IV aid for hybrid direct assessment programs and exempting from the Return to Title IV funds requirement programs that disburse aid in frequent, smaller installments, the group also made several new recommendations. Those include suggested improvements to the Experimental Sites Initiatives design and evaluation process to better inform policy decisions, and the creation of a federal funding source to incentivize software providers to make their products more amenable to innovative education delivery models.
Publication Date: 6/28/2019