Summary: H.R.2536 — 105th Congress (1997-1998)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for H.R.2536. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Introduced in House (09/24/1997)

21st Century Student Financial Aid System Improvement Act of 1997 - Amends the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA) to establish a performance-based organization (PBO) in the Department of Education as a discrete management unit responsible for managing the information systems supporting the student financial assistance programs authorized under HEA title IV. Authorizes appropriations.

(Sec. 2) Vests management of the PBO in a Chief Operating Officer (COO) appointed by the Secretary. Directs the Secretary and the COO to develop a performance plan for the PBO establishing measurable goals and objectives for the organization. Requires the COO submit an annual accountability report to the Secretary and specified congressional committees.

Requires the PBO to establish an annual performance management system which: (1) maintains individual accountability; and (2) strengthens its organizational effectiveness by providing for establishing goals or objectives for individual, group, or organizational performance, and using performance assessments as a basis for granting employee awards, pay adjustments, and other appropriate personnel actions.

Grants the PBO certain procurement flexibility.

Authorizes the COO to establish focus groups composed of students, institutions, and other participants in title IV student assistance programs to provide advice on student aid delivery matters.

Directs the Secretary and the COO to encourage and participate in establishing voluntary consensus standards and requirements for the electronic transmission of information necessary for the administration of title IV student assistance programs.

Directs the Secretary, except with respect to a common financial reporting form, to adopt voluntary consensus standards for transactions required under title IV, and common data elements for such transactions, to enable the electronic exchange of information between systems administered by the Department and among participants in the Federal student aid delivery system.

Requires any such standard to: (1) have been developed by an organization open to the various entities engaged in such delivery system; and (2) be consistent with the objective of reducing administrative costs. Directs the COO to: (1) participate in the activities of such standard setting organizations; and (2) encourage higher education groups seeking to develop common forms, standards, and procedures to do so within such an organization.

Requires the Secretary to adopt initial standards for: (1) a single electronic personal identifier number for students receiving title IV assistance; (2) procedures for the electronic transmission and authentication of signatures with respect to transactions requiring a signature; and (3) a single identifier for eligible institutions.

Requires such voluntary consensus standards to be compatible with the integrated postsecondary education data system.

Authorizes appropriations.