Summary: H.R.2716 — 102nd Congress (1991-1992)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for H.R.2716. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Introduced in House (06/20/1991)

Integrity in Higher Education Act of 1991 - Amends the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA) with respect to student assistance to establish requirements for institutional integrity.

Directs the Secretary of Education (the Secretary) to develop and implement objective performance standards for the administration of student assistance programs. Requires the Secretary to provide for the conduct of: (1) program reviews on a systematic basis designed to include all eligible institutions participating in such programs; and (2) recertification reviews of the administrative capability and financial responsibility of institutions over a five-year period on a targeted basis using objective criteria. Provides for automatic recertification and on-site reviews of such institutions. Requires each eligible institution to submit detailed information on its revenues and expenditures that the Secretary may require.

Establishes the State postsecondary approving agency program. Directs the Secretary to enter into agreements with each of the States, either directly or through a consortium of States, to: (1) establish one State postsecondary approving agency (State agency) in each State to review and approve postsecondary institutions and educational programs for student assistance purposes; and (2) provide Federal reimbursement to States for the costs of State agencies performing the functions required by such agreements. Conditions such reimbursement on the State's continuing compliance with the agreement. Provides, if a State declines to enter into such an agreement, that the Secretary make other appropriate arrangements for program review and approval in that State with agencies or organizations of demonstrated competence in reviewing higher education programs. Directs the Secretary to serve as the approving agency for any institutions eligible to participate in student assistance programs but not offering educational programs in the United States.

Sets forth requirements for such State agency agreements, including State organization structures. Declares that no State shall be required to: (1) fulfill the obligations of such an agreement unless the Secretary reimburses it for the specified Federal costs; or (2) enter into such an agreement unless the Congress appropriates the funds to pay those Federal costs.

Provides for payment of Federal reimbursement to States for State agency costs with specified limitations. Authorizes appropriations.

Sets forth State postsecondary approving agency functions. Prohibits a State agency from approving an institution, under institutional integrity requirements established by this Act, unless the institution complies with the following specified conditions. Requires the institution to obtain initial authorization to offer educational programs by meeting published State standards for: (1) financial and administrative capacity at a specified scale of operations; (2) facilities, equipment, and supplies; (3) personnel; (4) curriculum and instruction; (5) student support services; (6) admissions, academic calendars, tuition charges and fees, grading, academic progress, and advertising; (7) submission of data and documents on enrollments, completions, finances, and other topics; and (8) maintenance of student records. Requires the institution to demonstrate that: (1) it continues to comply with such standards; and (2) its students' achievement is of sufficient quality that it provides satisfactory education and training. Requires the institution, if a State does not have published standards, to meet standards prescribed by the Secretary through regulation or through an agreement with the State. Requires a special provision in the agreement if the State agency uses either accreditation by a private agency or compliance audits by a State guaranty agency as a substitute for State approval of compliance with such standards.

Allows the State agency to establish different standards of approval for different classes of institutions; but requires a published standard for each such class, unless the agreement with the Secretary specifically exempts such classes.

Authorizes the State agency to disapprove an institution or educational program on the basis of its own findings or those of the Secretary or another Federal entity, in accordance with specified procedures.

Prohibits a State agency from: (1) performing specified financial and compliance audits as may be required under certain student assistance provisions; or (2) assuming financial liability for claims against institutions subject to the State agency's review and approval.

Requires a State agency to establish procedures for receiving, responding to, and recording consumer complaints about approved institutions.

Provides that nothing in this Act shall: (1) restrict States authority to establish mechanisms to enforce State standards; or (2) require States to establish specific mechanisms recommended by the Secretary. Lists certain types of enforcement mechanisms that the State plan under the agreement may include.

Requires current approval by such a State agency for institutional participation in the programs of Stafford loans and other student financial assistance.

Directs the Secretary to establish standards for approval of accrediting agencies or associations, which must be met before they may receive approval for student assistance. Sets forth various required contents of such standards, including that a agency or association: (1) maintain a clear distinction from any professional or trade organization having a related membership; and (2) apply accreditation standards that determine that an institution's services, curricula, faculty, facilities, fiscal resources, and students' achievements are of sufficient quality that it provides satisfactory education and training.

Establishes a program of demonstration grants for improved administration and the reduction of regulatory burdens. Authorizes the Secretary to make such grants to public agencies, nonprofit private organizations, and institutions of higher education with demonstrated competence in reviewing higher education programs in order to help them demonstrate innovative approaches in administering student assistance programs.