TITLE IV--STUDENT ASSISTANCE
PART G--GENERAL PROVISIONS
SEC. 490. REGULATORY RELIEF AND IMPROVEMENT
Section 487A (20 U.S.C. 1094a) is amended to read as follows:
`SEC. 487A. REGULATORY RELIEF AND IMPROVEMENT.
`(a) QUALITY ASSURANCE PROGRAM-
`(1) IN GENERAL- The Secretary is authorized to select institutions for voluntary participation in a Quality Assurance Program that provides participating institutions with an alternative management approach through which individual schools develop and implement their own comprehensive systems, related to processing and disbursement of student financial aid, verification of student financial aid application data, and entrance and exit interviews, thereby enhancing program integrity within the student aid delivery system.
`(2) CRITERIA AND CONSIDERATION- The Quality Assurance Program authorized by this section shall be based on criteria that include demonstrated institutional performance, as determined by the Secretary, and shall take into consideration current quality assurance goals, as determined by the Secretary. The selection criteria shall ensure the participation of a diverse group of institutions of higher education with respect to size, mission, and geographical distribution.
`(3) WAIVER- The Secretary is authorized to waive for any institution participating in the Quality Assurance Program any regulations dealing with reporting or verification requirements in this title that are addressed by the institution's alternative management system, and may substitute such quality assurance reporting as the Secretary determines necessary to ensure accountability and compliance with the purposes of the programs under this title. The Secretary shall not modify or waive any statutory requirements pursuant to this paragraph.
`(4) DETERMINATION- The Secretary is authorized to determine--
`(A) when an institution that is unable to administer the Quality Assurance Program shall be removed from such program; and
`(B) when institutions desiring to cease participation in such program will be required to complete the current award year under the requirements of the Quality Assurance Program.
`(5) REVIEW AND EVALUATION- The Secretary shall review and evaluate the Quality Assurance Program conducted by each participating institution and, on the basis of that evaluation, make recommendations regarding amendments to this Act that will streamline the administration and enhance the integrity of Federal student assistance programs. Such recommendations shall be submitted to the Committee on Labor and Human Resources of the Senate and the Committee on Education and the Workforce of the House of Representatives.
`(b) REGULATORY IMPROVEMENT AND STREAMLINING EXPERIMENTS-
`(1) IN GENERAL- The Secretary may continue any experimental sites in existence on the date of enactment of the Higher Education Amendments of 1998. Any activities approved by the Secretary prior to such date that are inconsistent with this section shall be discontinued not later than June 30, 1999.
`(2) REPORT- The Secretary shall review and evaluate the experience of institutions participating as experimental sites during the period of 1993 through 1998 under this section (as such section was in effect on the day before the date of enactment of the Higher Education Amendments of 1998), and shall submit a report based on this review and evaluation to the Committee on Labor and Human Resources of the Senate and the Committee on Education and the Workforce of the House of Representatives not later than 6 months after the enactment of the Higher Education Amendments of 1998. Such report shall include--
`(A) a list of participating institutions and the specific statutory or regulatory waivers granted to each institution;
`(B) the findings and conclusions reached regarding each of the experiments conducted; and
`(C) recommendations for amendments to improve and streamline this Act, based on the results of the experiment.
`(A) IN GENERAL- Upon the submission of the report required by paragraph (2), the Secretary is authorized to select a limited number of additional institutions for voluntary participation as experimental sites to provide recommendations to the Secretary on the impact and effectiveness of proposed regulations or new management initiatives.
`(B) CONSULTATION- Prior to approving any additional experimental sites, the Secretary shall consult with the Committee on Labor and Human Resources of the Senate and the Committee on Education and the Workforce of the House of Representatives and shall provide to such Committees--
`(i) a list of institutions proposed for participation in the experiment and the specific statutory or regulatory waivers proposed to be granted to each institution;
`(ii) a statement of the objectives to be achieved through the experiment; and
`(iii) an identification of the period of time over which the experiment is to be conducted.
`(C) WAIVERS- The Secretary is authorized to waive, for any institution participating as an experimental site under subparagraph (A), any requirements in this title, or regulations prescribed under this title, that will bias the results of the experiment, except that the Secretary shall not waive any provisions with respect to award rules, grant and loan maximum award amounts, and need analysis requirements.
`(c) DEFINITIONS- For purposes of this section, the term `current award year' means the award year during which the participating institution indicates the institution's intention to cease participation.'.
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