About ED OFFICES
US Department of Education Principal Office Functional Statements
Office of Postsecondary Education

Higher Education Programs

The Deputy Assistant Secretary for Higher Education Programs (HEP) serves as the principal advisor to the Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education in effectively articulating, promoting, and executing its mission of equal access and excellence in postsecondary education.

The Deputy Assistant Secretary for HEP provides overall leadership for overseeing, administering, and coordinating discretionary and formula grants and contracts, and providing other services to foster equal access to and excellence in higher education.  These leadership responsibilities are carried out within the framework of authorizing legislation for Federal programs designed to:

  • Improve academic quality, institutional management, fiscal stability, and strengthens physical plants and endowments of institutions of higher education to enable faculty and administrators to create an environment focused on excellence in teaching that permits students to achieve excellence in learning at the baccalaureate and graduate levels. 
  • Identify, prepare, and facilitate access of low-income, first generation students and individuals with disabilities to higher education institutions and their successful completion of programs at their maximum levels of ability.
  • Provide a range of supportive services for low-income students in elementary, middle, and secondary schools, including information for their parents specifically focused on ensuring access and success at institutions of higher education. 
  • Provide child care services for low-income parents to enable them to participate in postsecondary education.
  • Provide opportunities for teachers (faculty) to receive professional development training in a variety of areas, including technology; and to provide services to faculty and administrators to assist them in providing appropriate services for students with disabilities.
  • Facilitate quality graduate education to address national needs. 

HEP establishes results-oriented policies and procedures governing the implementation of legislated discretionary and formula grant programs and contracts.  It administers such programs to maximize performance and accountability and evaluates the impact of programs it administers to measure their general efficiency in relation to their costs and effectiveness in achieving stated goals. HEP actively involves and works with public and private organizations (including institutions of higher education, public and private non-profit agencies and organizations, states, and elementary and secondary schools) to ensure maximum program effectiveness.  Working through the Department of Education, HEP reports to the President and Congress on all activities carried out under delegated authorities.

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Functions and responsibilities of the immediate office of the DAS HEP include:

  • Coordinates the development of new regulations and revisions to existing regulations; proposes new legislation and/or amendments to existing legislation for programs administered by HEP.
  • Works with PPI to prepare the annual program budget justification for HEP and provides appropriate documentation and other data to support such requests.
  • Oversees an internal HEP management coordination group responsible for developing and implementing a three- to five-year long-range plan and a one-year short-term plan.  These plans are designed to integrate budget, policy planning, operations analyses, and other critical service delivery information needed to enhance the forecasting ability of HEP; provide long-term vision and direction; identify and analyze options for management reviews; and determine needed changes to ongoing program policies and procedures.
  • Ensures accountability in all efforts undertaken by monitoring the overall grants and contracts award scheduling process, including: refinement of program selection criteria for programs without regulations, document clearances, the field reader selection systems, and reviewing procedures for the selection of program grantees.
  • Coordinates with senior HEP management and members of the higher education community, identifies program performance measures and indicators in the program monitoring and information systems for use in assessing the effectiveness of HEP programs in meeting legislative and regulatory objectives, ED and Administration goals, and ensuring accountability.
  • Prepares, in conjunction with other OPE and ED offices, specifications for program evaluation and program management studies; provides assistance in monitoring studies as well as in implementing recommendations.
  • Reviews, for clearance purposes, publications and forms requiring HEP, ED, and OMB approval; and recommends simplification or consolidation to achieve the goals of the Paperwork Reduction Act.
  • Coordinates, manages, and monitors the legislatively directed grant for Howard University.
  • Coordinates HEP responses to audit reports from the General Accounting Office and the Office of the Inspector General, with assistance from other HEP Program Areas, and ensures follow-up.
  • Serves as the focal point in HEP for allocating resources, budget and control mail operations and inquiries.  This function includes: salaries and expenses, budget requests, performance management activities, and the tracking of inquiries; and requests for other information from higher education constituents, the Congress, other Federal agencies and the Administration.

The Deputy Assistant Secretary for Higher Education Programs also provides overall direction, supervision, coordination, and leadership to three major Service Areas:

  • Student Service
  • Institutional Service
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The responsibilities of each Service Area are as follows:

STUDENT SERVICE

A Service Director heads the Student Service (SS) and reports to the Deputy Assistant Secretary.  The Service Director is responsible for the overall management of activities within the SS, coordinating with other HEP entities to ensure appropriate integration of interrelated functions and activities, and providing leadership to all components of SS, as well as to the higher education community. The SS performs planning, program development, and grant administration functions for the Federal TRIO programs; the Child Care Access Means Parents in School program; the Thurgood Marshall Legal Educational Opportunity program; Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP); the Graduate Fellowships Programs (Title VII, Part A, HEA); and the Erma Byrd Scholarship Program.

SS defines and articulates program goals and objectives; identifies and implements policy changes needed to achieve goals and objectives; evaluates program effectiveness; develops and updates policy manuals, program regulations, and proposed legislative amendments; prepares program budget requests; and prepares an annual funding schedule and funding strategy, incorporating the Secretary's goals and objectives; develops funding criteria and funding priorities for publication in the Federal Register, and manages the application review and awards process for programs administered by the SS. Functions also include assigned responsibilities relative to processes and all other functions necessary for the administration and monitoring of new and continuation awards with implementation by each Group.

SS performs the functions of HEP development and implementation as they relate to the following programs:

  • Child Care Access Means Parents in School
  • Educational Opportunity Centers (EOC)
  • Ronald E. McNair Post Baccalaureate Achievement
  • Staff  Development Activities (Training Program for Federal TRIO Staff)
  • Student Support Services
  • Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs
  • Talent Search
  • Thurgood Marshall Legal Educational Opportunity (Title VII, Subpart 3)
  • Upward Bound
  • Upward Bound Math/Science
  • Upward Bound/Veterans
  • Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need Program
  • Jacob Javits Fellowship Program and Advisory Board
  • Erma Byrd Scholarship Program

The Immediate Office of the Director of the SS provides overall direction and coordination to the following Groups:

  • Student Group A (Pre-College: Upward Bound & EOC Group)
  • Student Group B (Undergraduate & Graduate Programs Group)
  • Student Group C (Pre-College: GEAR UP & TRIO Talent Search Group)
  • Student Programs Development Group
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The Student Group staff works across program assignments for a variety of program planning, implementation, and analysis assignments designed to ensure maximum coordination and utilization of Service Area resources.  The Group is responsible for planning, implementing, and managing the grant awards processes for new applicants and non-competing continuation grantees and for providing overall management and monitoring of ongoing projects to ascertain adherence to regulations, policies and procedures and the achievement of program objectives.  Functions include: the development of the grant/technical review operation, design and approval of required forms, provision of technical assistance to potential applicants, review of applications by external readers, selection of grantees, technical assistance to funded grantees, data gathering and analysis, and grant close-out activities.

STUDENT GROUP A (PRE-COLLEGE: UPWARD BOUND & EOC GROUP)

The Pre-College: Upward Bound and EOC Group is responsible for planning, implementing, and managing the awards process for new applicants and non-competing continuation grantees for:

  • Upward Bound
  • Upward Bound Math/Science
  • Upward Bound Veterans
  • Educational Opportunity Centers 

STUDENT GROUP B (Undergraduate & Graduate Programs Group)

The Undergraduate & Graduate Programs Group is responsible for planning; implementing and managing the awards process for new applicants and non-competing continuation grants for:

  • Student Support Services Program
  • McNair Post Baccalaureate Achievement Program
  • TRIO Training Program
  • Thurgood Marshall Legal Educational Opportunity Program
  • Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need Program
  • Jacob Javits Fellowship Program & Advisory Board
  • Erma Byrd Scholarship Program

STUDENT GROUP C (PRE-COLLEGE: Gear up & TRIO Talent Search Group)

The Pre-College: GEAR UP & TRIO Talent Search Group is responsible for performing development and implementation activities for the following programs:

  • Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs
  • TRIO Talent Search Program
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Student Programs Development Group

The role of the Student Programs Development Group (SPDG) is to work to identify effective practices in serving students through the student oriented programs administered by the Office of Postsecondary Education.  The SPDG in collaboration with the other Groups within SS, is responsible for program planning and implementing of policy and procedures for the student-focused programs, including: the initiation and revision of regulations; developing and reviewing legislative proposals; preparing the annual program and S&E budget requests; developing funding strategies that incorporate the Secretary’s goals and objectives where applicable; developing project monitoring plans; resolving audits, and preparing periodic statistical and outcome reports for the programs administered by SS. In addition, the Program Development Group is responsible for managing the competition support, Web-based data collections, and data analysis contracts and for maintaining SS's data systems for tracking funded and non-funded applications and grant awards; defining the statistical analysis and program evaluations needed; determining program data requirements for analysis of specific program trends and reporting needs; and developing and generating reports on SS programs. This Group works closely with the office of the Director of SS.

INSTITUTIONAL SERVICE

Institutional Service (IS) is headed by a Director who reports to the Deputy Assistant Secretary, Higher Education Programs and is responsible for the overall management of activities within the Program Area.  The Director coordinates with other Program Areas in HEP to ensure appropriate integration of interrelated functions and activities, and provides leadership to all components of the Program Area as well as to the higher education community.

IS defines and articulates program goals and objectives; identifies and implements policy changes needed to achieve goals and objectives; evaluates program effectiveness; develops and updates policy manuals, program regulations, proposed legislative amendments; prepares program budget request; and in conjunction with the Deputy Assistant Secretary's office, prepares an annual funding schedule and funding strategy, incorporating the goals and objectives of the Secretary, where applicable; develops funding criteria, and funding priorities for publication in the Federal Register, and manages the application review and awards process for programs administered.   Functions also include assigned responsibilities relative to processes and all other functions necessary for the administration and monitoring of new and continuation awards with implementation by each Group.

The Immediate Office of the Service Director is responsible for directing and administering the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Capital Financing Program and Advisory Board.  Staff consists of an Executive Director of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Capital Financing Program and Advisory Board. 

IS performs the functions of development and implementation as they relate to the following programs:

The Immediate Office of the Director provides overall direction and coordination to Executive Director of the HBCU Capital Finance Program and the following Groups:

  • Institutional Group A
  • Institutional Group B
  • Institutional Group C
  • Fund for the Improvement for Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) Group
  • Institutional Programs Development Group
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Institutional Group A

The Group is responsible for planning, implementing, and managing the awards process for new applicants and non-competing continuation grantees for the following programs:

Functions of the Group include: the development of the grant and technical review operations; design and approval of required forms; and review of applications by external readers and staff and selection of grant recipients. The Group provides overall management and monitoring of ongoing projects to ascertain adherence to regulations, policies and procedures, as well as, provides technical assistance to funded grantees and to potential applicants for grant funding.  The Group also plans and implements the annual designation of eligibility process for institutions under Title III, Part A and Title V, Parts A & B of the Higher Education Act.

In addition, the Group:

  • Develops and justifies proposed amendments to existing legislation or new legislative initiatives for its programs, and preparing supporting documentation, issue papers, and justification for legislative changes as required for the clearance process.
  • Analyzes impact of proposed legislative amendments initiated by other components of ED, other Federal agencies and the Congress on programs.
  • Assesses the need for and develops specific program regulations to address policy recommendations or changes needed to comply with legislative intent or management improvement.
  • Analyzes, reviews, and prepares responses to public comments on regulations and recommends revisions to proposed regulations, as appropriate.
  • Prepares rationales and develops justifications for publication of regulations; prepares necessary materials for clearance of regulatory packages through HEP, OPE, ED and OMB; and preparing and clearing approved regulatory changes for publication in the Federal Register. Provides authoritative interpretation of program policies, procedures and regulations for program constituent groups, project managers, and other offices in ED, other Federal agencies and the Congress.
  • Prepares program budget requests, includes analyses of impact on program effectiveness at various funding levels.
  • Develops funding criteria and funding priorities for its programs, incorporates the goals and priorities of the Secretary, where applicable.
  • Manages the long-term grants awarded pre 1998 under the Endowment Challenge Grant Program (Title III), includes providing technical assistance to grantees.
  • Manages the grants awarded post 1998 that include Endowment Activities and provides technical assistance.
  • Manages the B.J. Stupak Olympic Scholarships (HEA 1992 Amendments, Section 1543).
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Institutional Group B

The Group is responsible for planning, implementing, and managing the awards process for new applicants and non-competing continuation grantees for the following programs:

  • Historically Black Colleges and Universities (Title III, Part B)
  • Historically Black Graduate Institutions (Title III, Part B)
  • Minority Science and Engineering Improvement (Title III, Part E)
  • Endowment Challenge Grant Activities (Post 1998)
  • Endowment Challenge Grant Program (Pre 1998)
  • Predominantly Black Institutions Undergraduate Discretionary Grant Program
  • Predominantly Black Institutions Undergraduate Formula Grant Program
  • Predominantly Black Institutions Masters Degree Program
  • Historically Black Colleges and Universities Masters Degree Programs

These functions include: the development of the grant/technical review operation; design and approval of required forms; review of applications by external readers and staff and selection of recipients. The Group provides overall management and monitoring of ongoing projects to ascertain adherence to regulations, policies and procedures, as well as, provide technical assistance to funded grantees/contractors and to potential applicants for grant funding.

In addition, the Group:

  • Develops and justifies proposed amendments to existing legislation or new legislative initiatives for its programs; preparing supporting documentation, issue papers, and justification for legislative changes as required for the clearance process.
  • Analyzes the impact of proposed legislative amendments initiated by other components of ED, other Federal agencies and the Congress.
  • Assesses the need for and develops specific program regulations to address policy recommendations or changes needed to comply with legislative intent or management improvement.
  • Analyzes, reviews, and prepares responses to public comments on regulations, and recommends revisions to proposed regulations as appropriate.  Prepares rationales and develops justification for publication of regulations, required materials for clearance of regulatory packages through HEP, OPE, ED, and OMB, and clearing approved regulatory changes for publication in the Federal Register.
  • Provides authoritative interpretation of program policies, procedures, and regulations for program constituent groups, project managers and other offices in ED, other Federal agencies and the Congress.
  • Prepares program budget requests, including analyses of impact on program effectiveness at various funding levels.
  • Develops funding criteria and funding priorities for its programs, incorporates goals and priorities of the Secretary, where applicable.

Institutional Group C

The Group is responsible for planning, implementing, and managing the awards process for new applicants and non-competing continuation grantees for Hispanic Serving Institutions Program and the PPOHA under Title V, Parts A & B, respectively, of the Higher Education Act and the College Housing and Academic Facilities Loan Program and Annual Interest Grant Program in Section 121 of the 1998 Amendments to the Higher Education Act. 

In addition, the Group:

  • Develops and justifies proposed amendments to existing legislation or new legislative initiatives for programs; prepares supporting documentation, issue papers, and justification for legislative changes as required for the clearance process.
  • Analyzes the impact of proposed legislative amendments initiated by other components of ED, other Federal agencies and the Congress.
  • Assesses the need for and develops specific program regulations to address policy recommendations or changes needed to comply with legislative intent or management improvement.
  • Analyzes reviews and prepares responses to public comments on regulations and recommending revisions to proposed regulations as appropriate.
  • Prepares rationales and develops justifications for publication of regulations; prepares necessary materials for clearance of regulatory packages through HEP, OPE, ED, and OMB. Prepares and clears approved regulatory changes for publication in the Federal Register.
  • Provides authoritative interpretation of program policies, procedures and regulations for program constituent groups, project managers and other offices in ED, other Federal agencies and the Congress.
  • Prepares program budget requests, including analyses of impact on program effectiveness at various funding levels.
  • Develops funding criteria and funding priorities for its programs, incorporates the goals and priorities of the Secretary where applicable.         
  • Manages and collects payments on long-term construction loans to institutions made under Title VII of the Higher Education Act of 1965.
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FIPSE (Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education)

The Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) was established by the Education Amendments of 1972 to improve postsecondary educational opportunities by providing assistance to education institutions and agencies for a broad range of reforms and innovations. Congress identified eight broad purposes for which contracts and grants may be awarded under Part B, Subpart 741 of Title VII of the Higher Education Act, amended.   An advisory body, the National Board, provides policy advice to the Secretary on the priorities and operation of FIPSE.

The FIPSE staff is responsible for performing the full range of activities related to program development, implementing, data gathering and analysis for the programs in their respective areas. Staff will participate in the implementation of the programs assigned to FIPSE, using their specialized knowledge and skills in areas where such backgrounds are required, as well as conduct program planning and development and data gathering and analysis activities for a variety of programs in their areas.  Staff works in cross-program assignments on a variety of program planning and development, implementation, and analysis assignments and activities designed to ensure maximum coordination and utilization of FIPSE's resources. As appropriate, ad hoc Groups of staff members will work together to plan and carry out tasks such as regulations revisions, application forms approval, technical workshops, budget development, the annual plan, data gathering, and analysis.  In addition to program planning and development of policy and procedures, including the initiation and revision of regulations, FIPSE staff is responsible for developing and reviewing legislative proposals and the annual report for each program administered.

Additionally, FIPSE staff is responsible for planning, implementing, and managing the awards process for new and non-competing applicants for programs administered and Congressionally-directed grants. Functions include the development of the grant/technical review operation; design and approval of required forms; review of applications by external readers and staff and selection of recipients. Provides overall management of ongoing projects to ascertain adherence to regulations, policies, and procedures; provides technical assistance to funded grantees/contractors and to potential applicants for grant funding.  FIPSE is also responsible to administering and monitoring Congressionally-directed grants.

Selected FIPSE staff are responsible for managing and maintaining program input into departmental systems; defining statistical analysis needed sampling techniques, and research design; determining program data requirements for analysis of specific program trends and reporting needs; developing and generating reports on programs; maintaining an application tracking system for funded and non-funded applicants; grant monitoring; and performing activities associated with the close-out of grant programs.

FIPSE manages the following programs:

  • Congressionally-directed Grants
  • Centers For Excellence-Veterans Success
  • Real Time Writers
  • Course Materials Rentals
  • Community Service-CWS
  • Comprehensive
  • Underground Railroad

Institutional Programs Development Group

The role of the Institutional Programs Development Group (IPDG) is to identify effective practices in developing institutions that serve low-income and minority students through the institution development programs administered by the Office of Postsecondary Education.  The IPDG will work closely with FIPSE to identify effective practices that are developed and implemented through their programmatic activities and disseminate this information to the institutions served by the other Institution Service programs.  As appropriate, the IPDG, in collaboration with the other Groups within IS, will make recommendations for modifying program regulations to build on identified effective practice and initiation and revision of regulations.  The IPDG will also prepare the annual program and S&E budget requests for IS programs and develop funding strategies that incorporate the Secretary’s goals and objectives where applicable.  The IPDG will also develop project monitoring plans, resolving audits, and preparing periodic statistical and outcome reports for the programs administered by IS. In addition, the IPDG is responsible for managing the competition support, Web-based data collections, and data analysis contracts and for maintaining IS data systems for tracking funded and non-funded applications and grant awards; defining the statistical analysis and program evaluations needed; determining program data requirements for analysis of specific program trends and reporting needs; and developing and generating reports on IS programs. This Group works closely with the office of the Director of IS.

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Last Modified: 01/13/2015