Archived Information

Technical Amendments to the Higher Education Act


THE HIGHER EDUCATION TECHNICAL AMENDMENTS ACT OF 2000

Section-by-Section Analysis

Section 101. Section 101 of the bill would establish how references to the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1001 et seq., hereinafter referred to as "the Act") are expressed in the bill, and the general effective date for the bill.

Section 102. Section 102 of the bill would amend Title I of the Act. Section 102(a)(1)(A) of the bill would amend section 102(a) of the Act to restore the eligibility of nonprofit foreign veterinary schools to participate in the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program. This eligibility was inadvertently eliminated by amendments in the Higher Education Amendments of 1998 that made a for-profit foreign veterinary school eligible for FFEL participation. In addition, this provision would limit the FFEL eligibility of for-profit foreign veterinary schools to those institutions that were certified by the Secretary before October 1, 1999 and meet the other requirements in section 102(a) of the Act.

Section 102(a)(1)(B) of the bill would update a citation in section 102(a)(3)(A) of the Act.

Section 102(a)(2) of the bill would clarify the definition of a "new borrower" in section 103(7) of the Act, so that the term would only apply, for FFEL and Direct Loan purposes, to an individual who has no outstanding balance of principal or interest owing on any FFEL or Direct Loan, and, for Perkins Loan purposes, to an individual who has no outstanding balance of principal or interest owing on any Perkins Loan.

Section 102(b) of the bill would correct an erroneous cross-reference in section 141(f)(3)(A) of the Act.

Section 103. Section 103 would amend Title II of the Act. Section 103(a)(1) of the bill would modify the reporting requirements in section 206(c)(1) of the Act so that Teacher Recruitment Grant recipients are not subject to the same reporting requirements as recipients of State Grants or Partnership Grants. Teacher Recruitment Grants are much smaller than State Grants and Partnership Grants.

Section 103(a)(2) of the bill would amend section 206(d) of the Act to authorize the Secretary to use program funds to carry out the evaluation activities required under that provision. Section 103(b) of the bill would amend the authorization of appropriations in section 210 of the Act to conform with the change proposed in section 103(2) of the bill.

Section 104. Section 104 of the bill would amend Title III of the Act. Section 104(a) of the bill would amend section 313(d) of the Act to exclude Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities and Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian-serving institutions from the two-year wait-out period. This is necessary because of the need of these institutions for assistance and because the relatively small number of such institutions makes the wait-out period impracticable. Section 104(b) of the bill would amend section 324(g) to eliminate certain outdated references to former sources of Federal funding for the University of the District of Columbia. Sections 104(c) and (d) of the bill would correct punctuation errors in sections 326(e)(1) and 342(5)(C) of the Act, respectively. Section 104(e) of the bill would add a subsection heading to section 343(e) of the Act. Section 104(f) of the bill would correct a citation in section 351(a) of the Act. Section 104(g) of the bill would correct a reference to a dollar amount in section 399(a)(4)(A) of the Act.

Section 105. Section 105 of the bill would amend Title IV of the Act.

Section 105(a) of the bill would make two changes to the GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) Program. First, section 105(a)(1)(A) of the bill would add a new paragraph (3) to section 404A(b) of the Act that would specify a uniform six-year duration for GEAR UP grants. This provision was inadvertently omitted from the program statute. Section 105(a)(1)(B) of the bill would state that the amendment made by section 105(a)(1)(A) of the bill would be effective for GEAR UP awards made for fiscal year 2000, except that the Secretary would be required to permit recipients of five-year grants made in fiscal year 1999 to amend their grant applications to include a six-year project period.

Section 105(a)(2) of the bill would amend section 404F(a) of the Act by eliminating the current $200,000 annual cap on the GEAR UP program funds that may be used to provide 21st Century Scholar Certificates, and replacing it with an annual cap of 0.2 percent of the funds appropriated for that fiscal year. The current $200,000 cap is insufficient to carry out the provision.

Section 105(b) of the bill would amend the Special Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership (SLEAP) Program by adding a new section 415E(f) of the Act to ensure that States use new sources of funds to match SLEAP program funds, rather than simply shift money formerly used to overmatch the Leveraging Assistance Educational Partnership (LEAP) Program, or its predecessor program, the State Student Incentive Grant Program. We understand that this is consistent with congressional intent for the SLEAP Program.

Section 105(c) of the bill would amend the Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarship Program by correcting a drafting error and an erroneous citation in sections 419C(b)(1) and 419D(d) of the Act, respectively.

Section 105(d) of the bill would amend the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program. Sections 105(d)(1), (2)(B)(i), and (4) of the bill would amend sections 425(a)(1)(i)(II), 428(b)(1)(A)(i)(II) and 428H(d)(2)(A)(ii) of the Act, respectively, to add weeks of instruction to the calculation used for prorating FFELs for undergraduate programs that are less than one academic year. This amendment is consistent with congressional intent as well as agreements reached during the negotiated rulemaking process that followed the enactment of the Higher Education Amendments of 1998 (P.L. 105-244).

Section 105(d)(2)(A) of the bill would correct a drafting error in section 428(a)(2)(A)(i)(II) of the Act.

Section 105(d)(2)(B)(ii) of the bill would clarify section 428(b)(1)(M)(i)(I) of the Act to ensure that despite any promissory note provisions to the contrary, a student may receive an in-school deferment for at least half-time attendance at an institution of higher education. Some promissory notes contain provisions that would require a student to borrow additional student loans or be enrolled full-time in order to receive the in-school deferment.

Section 105(d)(3)(A) of the bill would restore, and update the cross-references in, a provision of section 428C of the Act that was inadvertently eliminated by the Higher Education Amendments of 1998. This provision ensures that student loans consolidated under section 428C of the Act are still counted against the aggregate loan limits for the underlying loan programs.

Section 105(d)(3)(B) of the bill would amend section 428C(b)(1)(A)(ii) of the Act to enable a borrower to choose another lender for his or her income sensitive FFEL consolidation loan if the terms offered by his or her lender are not acceptable to the borrower. The current law provision is intended to give the borrower the ability to choose another lender, but now that the statute requires all FFEL lenders to offer income sensitive repayment plans in their consolidation programs, the borrower's option to choose another lender has been effectively eliminated. This amendment would provide the borrower with the option to choose another lender if the income sensitive plan offered is not acceptable, and would make FFEL consolidation loans more similar to Direct Consolidation Loans.

Section 105(d)(5) of the bill would correct drafting and punctuation errors in section 432(m)(1)(B) of the Act. Section 105(d)(6) of the bill would correct erroneous cross-references in sections 438(b)(2)(A) and (F) of the Act.

Section 105(e) of the bill would correct the paragraph numbering in section 455(b) of the Act.

Section 105(f) of the bill would amend the Federal Perkins Loan Program in Part E of Title IV of the Act by correcting drafting errors and erroneous or outdated citations and cross-references in sections 464(c)(1)(D), 465(a)(2)(A) and (C), 467(b), and 469(c) of the Act.

Section 105(g) of the bill would amend Part F, Need Analysis, in Title IV of the Act. Section 105(g)(1) would amend section 471 of the Act to add the LEAP Program to the programs excluded from the definition of "amount of need" in that section that is generally applicable to the Title IV programs. Section 105(g)(2) would amend section 478(b)(1) to update the years referred to in that provision to conform to the years used in section 478(b)(2). Section 105(g)(2) would also amend section 478(h) of the Act to eliminate an unnecessary cross-reference to section 476(b)(4)(B) of the Act, which does not contain a dollar amount reference that needs to be increased in future years, and to conform the expenditure categories in the employment expense allowance to those items now used in the recently revised Consumer Price Index. The impact of these conforming changes on the annual update of the employment expense allowance is negligible.

Section 105(h) of the bill would make several amendments to Part G, General Provisions in Title IV of the Act. Section 105(h)(1)(A) of the bill would amend section 483(a)(7) of the Act, which authorizes the Secretary to include space on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the Social Security Number of the parent of a dependent student, by conforming the wording of that provision more precisely to the manner specified by section 7 of the Privacy Act of 1974 (P.L. 93-579).

Section 105(h)(1)(B) of the bill would update a cross-reference in section 483(d) of the Act. Sections 105(h)(2)(A), (B), and (C) of the bill would correct a punctuation error and update cross-references in section 484(a)(4), (b)(2), and (l)(1)(B)(i) of the Act, respectively.

Section 105(h)(2)(D) of the bill would amend section 484(r) of the Act, which relates to a student's ineligibility for aid based on a conviction for a drug offense, by rewriting paragraph (2)(A), which currently permits a student to restore his or her eligibility by completing a drug rehabilitation program that meets regulatory criteria established by the Secretary and includes two unannounced drug tests. Because virtually no drug rehabilitation program includes two unannounced drug tests, the testing requirement would be eliminated from the rehabilitation option. The rehabilitation program would still be required to meet the criteria established by the Secretary.

Section 105(h)(3) of the bill would make several changes to the refund provisions in section 484B of the Act. Section 105(h)(3)(A)(i) of the bill would amend section 484B(a)(1) to exempt aid awarded under the LEAP Program from the calculation of the amount of unearned aid. LEAP funds may be matched by States in different ways, and including them in the refund calculation would be administratively very burdensome for institutions, with the burden outweighing the relatively small amount of Federal funds that might be affected. Sections 105(h)(3)(A)(ii) and (B) of the bill would make minor technical changes to sections 484B(a)(3)(B)(i) and (b)(2)(C) of the Act, respectively.

Section 105(h)(3)(D) of the bill would add a new paragraph (3) to section 484B(d) of the Act to authorize the Secretary to establish by regulation how, in the case of a program of study by correspondence, telecommunications, or distance learning, to determine the percentage of the payment period or period of enrollment for which assistance was disbursed (or could have been disbursed) that was completed. The current law provisions that measure the amount of work completed under credit hour or clock hour systems are not appropriate measures for correspondence, telecommunications, or distance learning courses.

Section 105(h)(4) of the bill would correct the paragraph numbering and punctuation in section 485B(a) of the Act.

Section 105(i) of the bill would correct punctuation and drafting errors in sections 498(c)(2) and (d)(1)(B) of the Act, respectively, and would amend section 498(b)(5) of the Act to clarify that an institution's option to not participate in some of the loan programs under FFEL or Direct Loans (for example, unsubsidized or parent loans) is subject to the requirement in section 484(b)(2) of the Act that a student is eligible to receive an unsubsidized loan only if he or she has first received a determination of need for, and applied for, a subsidized loan.

Section 106. Section 106 of the bill would amend section 504(a) of the Act to delete the wait-out period for Hispanic-Serving Institutions. This is necessary because of the need of these institutions for assistance and because the relatively small number of such institutions makes the wait-out period impracticable.

Section 107. Section 107(a) of the bill would amend section 701(a) of the Act to require that funds appropriated for the Jacob K. Javits Fellowships Program for a fiscal year be used for fellowships awarded for the academic year beginning after July 1 of that fiscal year. This would correct a drafting error regarding when the funds may be used. Section 107(b) of the bill would correct two erroneous cross-references in section 714(c) of the Act.

Section 108. Section 108 of the bill would make several amendments to section 444(b) of the General Education Provisions Act (GEPA), which is also known as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA).

Section 108(1) of the bill would amend section 444(b)(1)(E) of GEPA to restore a "grandfather clause" that was inadvertently modified as part of the Improving America's Schools Act of 1994 (P.L. 103-382).

Section 108(2) of the bill would clarify that section 444(b)(6)(B) of GEPA, permitting institutions to disclose the final results of certain disciplinary hearings, is prospective only, and does not affect proceedings conducted prior to October 7, 1998.

Section 108(3) of the bill would add a new paragraph (7) to section 444(b) of GEPA that would clarify that FERPA shall not be construed to prohibit an educational agency or institution from disclosing to an alleged victim of harassment in violation of Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act or the Americans with Disabilities Act, the results of any investigation, hearing or other proceeding conducted on or after the date of enactment of this paragraph by such agency or institution regarding the alleged harassment, including any sanction imposed.

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