Experimental Sites Initiative Session Highlights

By Tiffany Gibbs, Compliance Products Manager

This session from the 2016 NASFAA National Conference on the Experimental Sites Initiative (ESI) provided information on the purpose of the ESI as well as information on ongoing experiments.

Experiments Announced in 2011: The following experiments are ongoing and were announced in the October 27, 2011, Federal Register:

  • Federal Pell Grants for students with Bachelor’s Degrees in which an eligible student with a Bachelor’s degree who is unemployed or underemployed may be eligible to receive a Federal Pell Grant for enrollment in eligible vocational or career programs
  • Federal Pell Grants for Short-Term Training Programs in which an otherwise eligible student may receive Federal Pell Grant in a short-term program if it is at least 8 weeks of instructional time in duration and includes at least 150 clock-hours, 4 semester hours, or 6 quarter hours. The program must meet local or regional workforce needs. Lifetime eligibility used or proration requirements still apply

For both experiments, students are randomly selected to receive Federal Pell Grant funds. The U.S. Department of Education (ED) is not currently accepting additional applications to these experiments.

Experiments Announced in 2014: These experiments were announced in the July 31, 2014, Federal Register:

  • Prior Learning Assessment (PLA), which allows the cost of attendance (COA) to cover reasonable costs incurred by a student for assessments of prior learning. Federal Pell Grant enrollment status may include up to three credit hours associated with a student’s efforts to prepare a portfolio, for example.
  • Limited Direct Assessment (LDA) for programs which allow a combination of direct assessment and credit or clock hours. Institutions may also include remedial coursework offered in credit hours or using direct assessment in a student’s enrollment status.
  • Competency-Based Education (CBE) allows split disbursement waivers, satisfactory academic progress waivers (when it is checked), and subscription period waivers.
  • Federal Work-Study (FWS) for Near-Peer Counseling

See the Federal Register for more information. These experiments are still accepting applicants. An email can be sent to [email protected].


Publication Date: 8/2/2016

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