Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act
Section ---. Section --- of the bill would add a new subpart 7 (Access and Retention Innovations) to part A of title IV of the Act. New section 420A of the Act would authorize the Secretary to conduct needed research on ways to enhance access to and persistence in postsecondary education. For example, while the Department of Education makes available billions of dollars of student financial assistance annually, there is little experimental research evidence on which to base policy decisions regarding this program. This is due, primarily, to the difficulty of conducting research under controlled conditions to measure comparative student outcomes. By selecting study populations of students on a voluntary basis to different treatment and control groups (but without giving any student less aid than they would receive under existing law and regulation), and by tracking them throughout their postsecondary experience, the effects of different amounts and mixes of student financial assistance could be identified. Such data could provide a firm research base for proposing improvements to the overall functioning of the student financial assistance programs under title IV of this Act.
Subsection (a) of new section --- would set forth the purpose of the section.
Subsection (b) would authorize the Secretary, directly or through grants to, or contracts and cooperative agreements with, institutions of higher education and other public and private institutions, agencies, and organizations, to conduct research on ways to enhance access to and persistence in postsecondary education. This could include research on the amount and configuration of federally supported student financial assistance, college application and admissions testing, student support services, counseling and recruitment, and college awareness.
Subsection (c) would require the Secretary to promptly report to the President and the Congress on the results of the research funded under this section and, as appropriate, make recommendations to the President and the Congress based on such results.
Subsection (d) would authorize $20,000,000 to be appropriated for fiscal year 1999 and such sums as may be necessary for each of the four succeeding years to carry out this section.-###-
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