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OPE: Office of Postsecondary Education
Current Section
Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) - Authorizing Legislation 2008

20 U.S.C. 1138-1138d

Higher Education Act of 1965
Title VII, Part B, Subparts 741-745
(As amended by the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008)


(a) AUTHORITY — The Secretary is authorized to make grants to, or enter into contracts with, institutions of higher education, combinations of such institutions, and other public and private nonprofit institutions and agencies, to enable such institutions, combinations, and agencies to improve postsecondary education opportunities by–

(1) the encouragement of reform and improvement of, and innovation in, postsecondary education and the provision of educational opportunity for all students, including nontraditional students;

(2) the creation of institutions, programs, and joint efforts involving paths to career and professional training, including–

(A) Efforts that provide academic credit for programs; and

(B) Combinations of academic and experiential learning;

(3) the establishment and continuation of institutions, programs, consortia, collaborations, and other joint efforts based on communications technology, including those efforts that utilize distance education and technological advancements to educate and train postsecondary students (including health professionals serving medically underserved populations);

(4) the carrying out, in postsecondary educational institutions, of changes in internal structure and operations designed to clarify institutional priorities and purposes;

(5) the design and introduction of cost-effective methods of instruction and operation;

(6) the introduction of institutional reforms designed to expand individual opportunities for entering and reentering postsecondary institutions and pursuing programs of postsecondary study tailored to individual needs;

(7) the introduction of reforms in graduate education, in the structure of academic professions, and in the recruitment and retention of faculties;

(8) the creation of new institutions and programs for examining and awarding credentials to individuals, and the introduction of reforms in current institutional practices related thereto;

(9) the introduction of reforms in remedial education, including English language instruction, to customize remedial courses to student goals and help students progress rapidly from remedial courses into core courses and through postsecondary program completion;

(10) the provision of support and assistance to partnerships between institutions of higher education and secondary schools with a significant population of students identified as late-entering limited English proficient students, to establish programs that–

(A) Result in increased secondary school graduation rates of limited English proficient students; and

(B) Increase the number of participating late-entering limited English proficient students who pursue postsecondary education;

(11) the creation of consortia that join diverse institutions of higher education to design and offer curricular and cocurricular interdisciplinary programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels, sustained for not less than a 5 year period, that–

(A) Focus on poverty and human capability; and

(B) Include–

(i) A service-learning component; and

(ii) the delivery of educational services through informational resource centers, summer institutes, midyear seminars, and other educational activities that stress the effects of poverty and how poverty can be alleviated through different career paths;

(12) the provision of support and assistance for demonstration projects to provide comprehensive support services to ensure that homeless students, or students who were in foster care or were a ward of the court at any time before the age of 13, enroll and succeed in postsecondary education, including providing housing to such students during periods when housing at the institution of higher education is closed or generally unavailable to other students; and

(13) the support of efforts to work with institutions of higher education, and nonprofit organizations, that seek to promote cultural diversity in the entertainment media industry, including through the training of students in production, marketing, and distribution of culturally relevant content.

(b) PLANNING GRANTS — The Secretary is authorized to make planning grants to institutions of higher education for the development and testing of innovative techniques in postsecondary education. Such grants shall not exceed $20,000.


(1) The Secretary is authorized to award one grant or contract to an institution of higher education to enable such institution to establish and maintain a center to study and develop best practices for institutions of higher education to support single parents who are also students attending such institutions.

(2) The Secretary shall award the grant or contract under this subsection to a four-year institution of higher education that has demonstrated expertise in the development of programs to assist single parents who are students at institutions of higher education, as shown by the institution's development of a variety of targeted services to such students, including on-campus housing, child care, counseling, advising, internship opportunities, financial aid, and financial aid counseling and assistance.

(3) The center funded under this section shall–

(A) Assist institutions implementing innovative programs that support single parents pursuing higher education;

(B) Study and develop an evaluation protocol for such programs that includes quantitative and qualitative methodologies;

(C) Provide appropriate technical assistance regarding the replication, evaluation, and continuous improvement of such programs; and

(D) Develop and disseminate best practices for such programs.


(1) In general. – No funds made available under this part shall be used to provide direct financial assistance in the form of grants or scholarships to students who do not meet the requirements of section 484(a).

(2) Rule of construction. – Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to prevent a student who does not meet the requirements of section 484(a) from participating in programs funded under this part.

(e) PRIORITY — In making grants under this part to any institution of higher education after the date of enactment of the Higher Education Opportunity Act, the Secretary may give priority to institutions that meet or exceed the most current version of ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1 (as such term is used in section 342(a)(6) of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (42 U.S.C. 6313(a)(6)) for any new facilities construction or major renovation of the institution after such date, except that this subsection shall not apply with respect to barns or greenhouses or similar structures owned by the institution.


(1) Authorization. – The Secretary shall enter into a contract with a nonprofit organization with demonstrated success in carrying out the activities described in this subsection to carry out a program to provide postsecondary education scholarships for eligible students.

(2) Definition of eligible student.--In this subsection, the term 'eligible student' means an individual who is enrolled as a full-time or part-time student at an institution of higher education (as defined in section 102) and is–

(A) A dependent student who is a child of–

(i) An individual who is–

(I) serving on active duty during a war or other military operation or national emergency (as defined in section 481); or

(II) Performing qualifying National Guard duty during a war or other military operation or national emergency (as defined in section 481);

(ii) Was (at the time of death of the veteran) a spouse of a veteran who–

(I) served or performed, as described in clause (i), since September 11, 2001; and

(II) died as a result of such service or performance;


(iii) Is a spouse of a veteran who–

(I) served or performed, as described in clause (i), since September 11, 2001; and

(II) has been disabled as a result of such service or performance.

(3) Awarding of scholarships. –Scholarships awarded under this subsection shall be awarded based on need with priority given to eligible students who are eligible to receive Federal Pell Grants under subpart 1 of part A of title IV.

(4) Maximum scholarship amount. –The maximum scholarship amount awarded to an eligible student under this subsection for an award year shall be the lesser of $5,000, or the student's cost of attendance (as defined in section 472).

(5) Amounts for scholarships. –All of the amounts appropriated to carry out this subsection for a fiscal year shall be used for scholarships awarded under this subsection, except that the nonprofit organization receiving a contract under this subsection may use not more than one percent of such amounts for the administrative costs of the contract.


(a) ESTABLISHMENT — There is established a National Board of the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (in this part referred to as the `Board'). The Board shall consist of 15 members appointed by the Secretary for overlapping 3-year terms. A majority of the Board shall constitute a quorum. Any member of the Board who has served for 6 consecutive years shall thereafter be ineligible for appointment to the Board during a 2-year period following the expiration of such sixth year.

(b) MEMBERSHIP — The Secretary shall designate one of the members of the Board as Chairperson of the Board. A majority of the members of the Board shall be public interest representatives, including students, and a minority shall be educational representatives. All members selected shall be individuals able to contribute an important perspective on priorities for improvement in postsecondary education and strategies of educational and institutional change.

(c) DUTIES — The Board shall–

(1) Advise the Secretary on priorities for the improvement of postsecondary education and make such recommendations as the Board may deem appropriate for the improvement of postsecondary education and for the evaluation, dissemination, and adaptation of demonstrated improvements in postsecondary educational practice;

(2) advise the Secretary on the operation of the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education, including advice on planning documents, guidelines, and procedures for grant competitions prepared by the Fund; and

(3) Meet at the call of the Chairperson, except that the Board shall meet whenever one-third or more of the members request in writing that a meeting be held.

(d) INFORMATION AND ASSISTANCE — The Secretary shall make available to the Board such information and assistance as may be necessary to enable the Board to carry out its functions.


The Secretary may appoint, for terms not to exceed 3 years, without regard to the provisions of title 5, United States Code, governing appointments in the competitive service, not more than 7 technical employees to administer this part who may be paid without regard to the provisions of chapter 51 and subchapter III of chapter 53 of such title relating to classification and General Schedule pay rates.


(a) GRANT AUTHORITY — The Secretary is authorized to make grants to institutions of higher education, or consortia thereof, and such other public agencies and nonprofit organizations as the Secretary deems necessary for innovative projects concerning one or more areas of particular national need identified by the Secretary.

(b) APPLICATION — No grant shall be made under this part unless an application is made at such time, in such manner, and contains or is accompanied by such information as the Secretary may require.

(c) AREAS OF NATIONAL NEED — Areas of national need shall include at a minimum, the following:

(1) Institutional restructuring to improve learning and promote productivity, efficiency, quality improvement, and cost reduction.

(2) Improvements in academic instruction and student learning, including efforts designed to assess the learning gains made by postsecondary students.

(3) Articulation between two- and four-year institutions of higher education, including developing innovative methods for ensuring the successful transfer of students from two- to four-year institutions of higher education.

(4) Development, evaluation, and dissemination of model courses, including model courses that–

(A) Provide students with a broad and integrated knowledge base;

(B) include, at a minimum, broad survey courses in English literature, American and world history, American- political institutions, economics, philosophy, college-level mathematics, and the natural sciences; and

(C) Include study of a foreign language that leads to reading and writing competency in the foreign language.

(5) International cooperation and student exchanges among postsecondary educational institutions.

(6) Support of centers to incorporate education in quality and safety into the preparation of medical and nursing students, through grants to medical schools, nursing schools, and osteopathic schools. Such grants shall be used to assist in providing courses of instruction that specifically equip students to–

(A) Understand the causes of, and remedies for, medical error, medically induced patient injuries and complications, and other defects in medical care;

(B) Engage effectively in personal and systemic efforts to continually reduce medical harm; and

(C) Improve patient care and outcomes, as recommended by the Institute of Medicine.


There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this part such sums as may be necessary for fiscal year 2009 and each of the five succeeding fiscal years.


Last Modified: 04/13/2011