Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act
SEC. ---. Subpart 2 of part A of title IV of the Act is amended--
(1) in section 402A--
A) in subsection (a)--
(i) by amending the section title to read as follows:
"SEC. 402A. PURPOSE; PROGRAM AUTHORITY; AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.--";
(ii) by amending the subsection heading to read as follows:
"(a) PURPOSE; GRANTS AND CONTRACTS AUTHORIZED.--";
(iii) by adding a new paragraph (1) to read as follows:
"(1) The purpose of this subpart is to increase the rates of participation and completion of programs of postsecondary education of qualified individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds."; and
(iv) by inserting the paragraph designation "(2)" before the material beginning with "The Secretary shall, in accordance with the provisions of this chapter";
(B) in subsection (b), by amending paragraphs (2) and (3) to read as follows:
"(2) DURATION.--Grants or contracts made under this subpart shall be awarded for a period of 4 years, except that--
"(A) grants under section 402G shall be awarded for a period of 2 years; and
"(B) grants under section 402H shall be awarded for a period determined by the Secretary.
"(3) MINIMUM GRANT LEVELS.--Unless the institution or agency requests less, individual grants under this subpart shall be--
(A) no less than $170,000 for programs authorized under sections 402D and 402G;
"(B) no less than $180,000 for programs authorized under sections 402B and 402F; and
"(C) no less than $190,000 for programs authorized under sections 402C, and 402E.";
(C) in subsection (c)--
(i) by redesignating paragraphs (4), (5), and (6) as paragraphs (8),(6), and (7), respectively;
(ii) by striking out paragraphs (1) through (3) and inserting in lieu thereof new paragraphs (1) through (5) to read as follows:
"(1) APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS.--An eligible entity that desires to receive a grant or contract under this subpart shall submit an application to the Secretary in such manner and form, and containing such information and assurances, as the Secretary may reasonably require, including a description of how the applicant will coordinate its programs under this chapter with each other and with other programs for disadvantaged students that they provide.
"(2) PRIOR EXPERIENCE.--In making grants under this subpart, the Secretary shall consider each applicant's prior experience of service delivery under the particular program for which funds are sought. The level of consideration given this factor shall not vary from the level of consideration given this factor since fiscal year 1993, except that grants made under sections 402G and 402H shall not be given prior experience consideration.
"(3) PRIORITY POINTS FOR UNDER-SERVED GEOGRAPHIC AREAS.--Except for grants made under sections 402G and H, the Secretary shall, for each grant competition under this chapter--
"(A) use U.S. Census Bureau and other data, identify geographic areas with concentrations of eligible students who are not served by programsunder this chapter;
"(B) publish a list of such under-served geographic areas for each program competition; and
"(C) give priority points of 10 percent of the average of the peer review scores to any applicant that proposes a project that would serve one or more of the designated under-served geographic areas, except that an applicant eligible for prior experience under paragraph (2) would not be eligible for these priority points.
"(4) ORDER OF AWARDS; PROGRAM FRAUD.--(A) Except for grants made under sections 402G and 402H, and as provided in subparagraph (B), the Secretary shall award grants under this subpart in the rank order of the scores received by the application for such grant in the peer review process required under section 138 [formerly sec. 1210] of the Act and adjusted, as appropriate, for prior experience and priority points in accordance with paragraphs (2) and (3).
"(B) The Secretary is not required to provide assistance to a program otherwise eligible for assistance under this subpart if the Secretary has determined that such program has involved the fraudulent use of funds under this subpart.
"(5) PEER REVIEW PROCESS.--(A) The Secretary shall ensure that, to the extent practicable and appropriate, members of groups underrepresented in higher education, including African-Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Alaska Natives, Asian-Americans, Native American Pacific Islanders (including Native Hawaiians), are represented as readers of applications submitted under this subpart. The Secretary shall also ensure that persons from urban and rural backgrounds are represented as readers.
"(B) The Secretary shall ensure that each application submitted under this subpart is read by at least 3 readers who are not employees of the Federal Government (other than as readers of applications)."; and
(iii) in redesignated paragraph (6), by striking out "AND CONTRACTS" in the paragraph heading;
(D) by amending subsection (f) as follows:
"(f) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.--(1) For the purpose of making grants and contracts under this subpart, there are authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be necessary for fiscal year 1999 and each of the four succeeding fiscal years.
"(2) From the amounts appropriated under paragraph (1) for any fiscal year, the Secretary may reserve--
"(A) up to ½ of 1 percent of such amount to obtain additional qualified readers and additional staff to review applications, to increase the level of oversight monitoring, to support impact studies, program assessments, and reviews, and to provide technical assistance to potential applicants and current grantees; and
"(B) up to 2 percent of such amount for innovative and experimental projects under section 402H."; and
(E) in subsection (g) by amending paragraph (1)(A) to read as follows:
"(A) an individual neither of whose parents received a baccalaureate degree; or";
(2) in section 402D(c)--
(A) at the end of paragraph (4), by adding "and";
(B) at the end of paragraph (5), by striking out the semi-colon and "and" and inserting in lieu thereof a period; and
(C) by striking out paragraph (6);
(3) in section 402G(a), by inserting "and contracts" after "the Secretary is authorized to make grants"; and
(4) by amending section 402H to read as follows:
"EVALUATIONS FOR PROJECT IMPROVEMENT AND INNOVATIVE PROJECTS
"SEC. 402H. (a) IN GENERAL.-- For the purpose of improving the effectiveness of the programs and projects assisted under this subpart, the Secretary may make grants to, and enter into contracts with, institutions of higher education and other public and private institutions and organizations to--
"(1) evaluate the effectiveness of the programs assisted under this subpart in meeting the purposes described in this subpart; and
"(2) support projects demonstrating innovative strategies and new educational approaches to better meet the needs of students eligible for programs under this subpart.
"(b) CONTENT.--(1) The evaluation projects described in subsection (a)(1) shall identify institutional, community, and program practices that are particularly effective in enhancing the access of low-income individuals and first-generation college students to postsecondary education, the preparation of these individuals and students for postsecondary education, and the success of these individuals and students in postsecondary education; and
"(2) The demonstration projects described in subsection (a)(2) shall demonstrate the effectiveness of alternative and innovative methods for providing access and retention services for students eligible for programs under this subpart.
"(c) RESULTS.--In order to improve program effectiveness, the results of the ongoing evaluations and demonstration projects described in subsection (a) shall be disseminated by the Secretary to similar programs assisted under this subpart, as well as other individuals concerned with the postsecondary access and retention of low-income individuals and first-generation college students.".
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