Text: H.R.5715 — 110th Congress (2007-2008)All Information (Except Text)

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Public Law No: 110-227 (05/07/2008)

 
[110th Congress Public Law 227]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]


[DOCID: f:publ227.110]

[[Page 739]]

         ENSURING CONTINUED ACCESS TO STUDENT LOANS ACT OF 2008

[[Page 122 STAT. 740]]

Public Law 110-227
110th Congress

                                 An Act


 
 To ensure continued availability of access to the Federal student loan 
program for students and families. <<NOTE: May 7, 2008 -  [H.R. 5715]>> 

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress <<NOTE: Ensuring Continued Access 
to Student Loans Act of 2008.>> assembled,
SECTION 1. <<NOTE: 20 USC 1001 note.>> SHORT TITLE.

    This title may be cited as the ``Ensuring Continued Access to 
Student Loans Act of 2008''.
SEC. 2. INCREASING UNSUBSIDIZED STAFFORD LOAN LIMITS FOR 
                    UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS.

    (a) Amendments.--Subsection (d) of section 428H of the Higher 
Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1078-8(d)) is amended to read as 
follows:
    ``(d) Loan Limits.--
            ``(1) In general.--Except as provided in paragraphs (2), 
        (3), and (4), the annual and aggregate limits for loans under 
        this section shall be the same as those established under 
        section 428(b)(1), less any amount received by such student 
        pursuant to the subsidized loan program established under 
        section 428.
            ``(2) Limits for graduate and professional students.--
                    ``(A) Annual limits.--The maximum annual amount of 
                loans under this section a graduate or professional 
                student may borrow in any academic year (as defined in 
                section 481(a)(2)) or its equivalent shall be the amount 
                determined under paragraph (1), plus--
                          ``(i) in the case of such a student who is a 
                      graduate or professional student attending an 
                      eligible institution, $12,000; and
                          ``(ii) in the case of a graduate student 
                      enrolled in coursework specified in sections 
                      484(b)(3)(B) and 484(b)(4)(B), $7,000;
                except in cases where the Secretary determines that a 
                higher amount is warranted in order to carry out the 
                purpose of this part with respect to students engaged in 
                specialized training requiring exceptionally high costs 
                of education, but the annual insurable limit per student 
                shall not be deemed to be exceeded by a line of credit 
                under which actual payments by the lender to the 
                borrower will not be made in any years in excess of the 
                annual limit.
                    ``(B) Aggregate limit.--The maximum aggregate amount 
                of loans under this section a student described in 
                subparagraph (A) may borrow shall be the amount 
                described in paragraph (1), adjusted to reflect the 
                increased

[[Page 122 STAT. 741]]

                annual limits described in subparagraph (A), as 
                prescribed by the Secretary by regulation.
            ``(3) Limits for undergraduate dependent students.--
                    ``(A) Annual limits.--The maximum annual amount of 
                loans under this section an undergraduate dependent 
                student (except an undergraduate dependent student whose 
                parents are unable to borrow under section 428B or the 
                Federal Direct PLUS Loan Program) may borrow in any 
                academic year (as defined in section 481(a)(2)) or its 
                equivalent shall be the sum of the amount determined 
                under paragraph (1), plus $2,000.
                    ``(B) Aggregate limits.--The maximum aggregate 
                amount of loans under this section a student described 
                in subparagraph (A) may borrow shall be $31,000.
            ``(4) Limits for undergraduate independent students.--
                    ``(A) Annual limits.--The maximum annual amount of 
                loans under this section an undergraduate independent 
                student, or an undergraduate dependent student whose 
                parents are unable to borrow under section 428B or the 
                Federal Direct PLUS Loan Program, may borrow in any 
                academic year (as defined in section 481(a)(2)) or its 
                equivalent shall be the sum of the amount determined 
                under paragraph (1), plus--
                          ``(i) in the case of such a student attending 
                      an eligible institution who has not completed such 
                      student's first 2 years of undergraduate study--
                                    ``(I) $6,000, if such student is 
                                enrolled in a program whose length is at 
                                least one academic year in length; or
                                    ``(II) if such student is enrolled 
                                in a program of undergraduate education 
                                which is less than one academic year, 
                                the maximum annual loan amount that such 
                                student may receive may not exceed the 
                                amount that bears the same ratio to the 
                                amount specified in subclause (I) as the 
                                length of such program measured in 
                                semester, trimester, quarter, or clock 
                                hours bears to one academic year;
                          ``(ii) in the case of such a student at an 
                      eligible institution who has successfully 
                      completed such first and second years but has not 
                      successfully completed the remainder of a program 
                      of undergraduate education--
                                    ``(I) $7,000; or
                                    ``(II) if such student is enrolled 
                                in a program of undergraduate education, 
                                the remainder of which is less than one 
                                academic year, the maximum annual loan 
                                amount that such student may receive may 
                                not exceed the amount that bears the 
                                same ratio to the amount specified in 
                                subclause (I) as such remainder measured 
                                in semester, trimester, quarter, or 
                                clock hours bears to one academic year; 
                                and
                          ``(iii) in the case of such a student enrolled 
                      in coursework specified in sections 484(b)(3)(B) 
                      and 484(b)(4)(B), $6,000 for coursework necessary 
                      for

[[Page 122 STAT. 742]]

                      enrollment in an undergraduate degree or 
                      certificate program.
                    ``(B) Aggregate limits.--The maximum aggregate 
                amount of loans under this section a student described 
                in subparagraph (A) may borrow shall be $57,500.
            ``(5) Capitalized interest.--Interest capitalized shall not 
        be deemed to exceed a maximum aggregate amount determined under 
        subparagraph (B) of paragraph (2), (3), or (4).''.

    (b) Student Eligibility.--Loan <<NOTE: 20 USC 1078-8 note.>> limit 
increases authorized by the amendments made by this section shall be 
available only to students who meet the requirements of section 484(a) 
of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1091(a)).

    (c) Effective Date.--The <<NOTE: 20 USC 1078-8 note.>> amendments 
made by this section shall be effective for loans first disbursed on or 
after July 1, 2008.
SEC. 3. GRACE PERIOD FOR PARENT PLUS LOANS.

    (a) Amendment.--Section 428B(d) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 
(20 U.S.C. 1078-2(d)) is amended by amending paragraphs (1) and (2) to 
read as follows:
            ``(1) Commencement of repayment.--Repayment of principal on 
        loans made under this section shall--
                    ``(A) commence not later than--
                          ``(i) 60 days after the date such loan is 
                      disbursed by the lender, except as provided in 
                      clause (ii); and
                          ``(ii) if agreed upon by a parent borrower, 
                      the day after 6 months after the date the student 
                      for whom the loan is borrowed ceases to carry at 
                      least one-half the normal full-time academic 
                      workload (as determined by the institution); and
                    ``(B) be subject to deferral during any period 
                during which the graduate or professional student or the 
                parent meets the conditions required for a deferral 
                under section 427(a)(2)(C) or 428(b)(1)(M).
            ``(2) Capitalization of interest.--
                    ``(A) In general.--Interest on loans made under this 
                section--
                          ``(i) which accrues prior to the beginning of 
                      repayment under paragraph (1)(A)(i), shall be 
                      added to the principal amount of the loan; and
                          ``(ii) which accrues prior to the beginning of 
                      repayment under paragraph (1)(A)(ii) or during a 
                      period in which payments of principal are deferred 
                      pursuant to paragraph (1)(B) shall, if agreed upon 
                      by the borrower and the lender--
                                    ``(I) be paid monthly or quarterly; 
                                or
                                    ``(II) be added to the principal 
                                amount of the loan not more frequently 
                                than quarterly by the lender.
                    ``(B) Insurable limits.--Capitalization of interest 
                under this paragraph shall not be deemed to exceed the 
                annual insurable limit on account of the borrower.''.

    (b) Conforming Amendment.--Section 428(b)(7)(C) of such Act (20 
U.S.C. 1078(b)(7)(C)) is amended by striking ``, 428B,''.
    (c) Effective Date.--The <<NOTE: 20 USC 1078 note.>> amendments made 
by this section shall be effective for loans first disbursed on or after 
July 1, 2008.

[[Page 122 STAT. 743]]

SEC. 4. SPECIAL RULES FOR PLUS LOANS.

    Section 428B(a)(3) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 
1078-2(a)(3)) is amended to read as follows:
            ``(3) Special rules.--
                    ``(A) Parent borrowers.--Whenever necessary to carry 
                out the provisions of this section, the terms `student' 
                and `borrower' as used in this part shall include a 
                parent borrower under this section.
                    ``(B)(i) Extenuating circumstances.--An eligible 
                lender may determine that extenuating circumstances 
                exist under the regulations promulgated pursuant to 
                paragraph (1)(A) if, during the period beginning January 
                1, 2007, and ending December 31, 2009, an applicant for 
                a loan under this section--
                          ``(I) is or has been delinquent for 180 days 
                      or fewer on mortgage loan payments or on medical 
                      bill payments during such period; and
                          ``(II) is not and has not been more than 89 
                      days delinquent on the repayment of any other debt 
                      during such period.
                    ``(ii) Definition of mortgage loan.--In this 
                subparagraph, the term `mortgage loan' means an 
                extension of credit to a borrower that is secured by the 
                primary residence of the borrower.
                    ``(iii) Rule of construction.--Nothing in this 
                subparagraph shall be construed to limit an eligible 
                lender's authority under the regulations promulgated 
                pursuant to paragraph (1)(A) to determine that 
                extenuating circumstances exist.''.
SEC. 5. LENDER-OF-LAST-RESORT.

    (a) In General.--Section 428(j) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 
(20 U.S.C. 1078(j)) is amended--
            (1) in the first sentence of paragraph (1), by striking 
        ``students eligible to receive interest benefits paid on their 
        behalf under subsection (a) of this section who are otherwise 
        unable to obtain loans under this part'' and inserting 
        ``eligible students and parents who are otherwise unable to 
        obtain loans under this part (except for consolidation loans 
        under section 428C) or who attend an institution of higher 
        education in the State that is designated under paragraph (4)'';
            (1) in paragraph (1), by inserting after the second sentence 
        the following: ``No loan under section 428, 428B, or 428H that 
        is made pursuant to this subsection shall be made with interest 
        rates, origination or default fees, or other terms and 
        conditions that are more favorable to the borrower than the 
        maximum interest rates, origination or default fees, or other 
        terms and conditions applicable to that type of loan under this 
        part.'';
            (2) in paragraph (2)(B), by inserting ``, in the case of 
        students and parents applying for loans under this subsection 
        because of an inability to otherwise obtain loans under this 
        part (except for consolidation loans under section 428C),'' 
        after ``lender, nor'';
            (3) in paragraph (3)(C)--
                    (A) in the first sentence, by inserting ``or 
                designates an institution of higher education for 
                participation in the

[[Page 122 STAT. 744]]

                program under this subsection under paragraph (4)'' 
                after ``under this part''; and
                    (B) in the third sentence, by inserting ``or to 
                eligible borrowers who attend an institution in the 
                State that is designated under paragraph (4)'' after 
                ``problems''; and
            (4) by adding at the end the following:
            ``(4) Institution-wide 
        student <<NOTE: Designation.>> qualification.--Upon the request 
        of an institution of higher education and pursuant to standards 
        developed by the Secretary, the Secretary shall designate such 
        institution for participation in the lender-of-last-resort 
        program under this paragraph. If the Secretary designates an 
        institution under this paragraph, the guaranty agency designated 
        for the State in which the institution is located shall make 
        loans, in the same manner as such loans are made under paragraph 
        (1), to students and parent borrowers of the designated 
        institution, regardless of whether the students or parent 
        borrowers are otherwise unable to obtain loans under this part 
        (other than a consolidation loan under section 428C).
            ``(5) Standards developed by the secretary.--In developing 
        standards with respect to paragraph (4), the Secretary may 
        require--
                    ``(A) an institution of higher education to 
                demonstrate that, despite due diligence on the part of 
                the institution, the institution has been unable to 
                secure the commitment of eligible lenders willing to 
                make loans under this part to a significant number of 
                students attending the institution;
                    ``(B) that, prior to making a request under such 
                paragraph for designation for participation in the 
                lender-of-last-resort program, an institution of higher 
                education shall demonstrate that the institution has met 
                a minimum threshold, as determined by the Secretary, for 
                the number or percentage of students at such institution 
                who have received rejections from eligible lenders for 
                loans under this part; and
                    ``(C) any other standards and guidelines the 
                Secretary determines to be appropriate.
            ``(6) Expiration of authority.--The Secretary's authority 
        under paragraph (4) to designate institutions of higher 
        education for participation in the program under this subsection 
        shall expire on June 30, 2009.
            ``(7) Expiration of designation.--The eligibility of an 
        institution of higher education, or borrowers from such 
        institution, to participate in the program under this subsection 
        pursuant to a designation of the institution by the Secretary 
        under paragraph (4) shall expire on June 30, 2009. After such 
        date, borrowers from an institution designated under paragraph 
        (4) shall be eligible to participate in the program under this 
        subsection as such program existed on the day before the date of 
        enactment of the Ensuring Continued Access to Student Loans Act 
        of 2008.
            ``(8) Prohibition on inducements and marketing.--Each 
        guaranty agency or eligible lender that serves as a lender-of-
        last-resort under this subsection--

[[Page 122 STAT. 745]]

                    ``(A) shall be subject to the prohibitions on 
                inducements contained in subsection (b)(3) and the 
                requirements of section 435(d)(5); and
                    ``(B) shall not advertise, market, or otherwise 
                promote loans under this subsection, except that nothing 
                in this paragraph shall prohibit a guaranty agency from 
                fulfilling its responsibilities under paragraph (2)(C).
            ``(9) Dissemination and reporting.--
                    ``(A) In general.--The <<NOTE: Public 
                information.>> Secretary shall--
                          ``(i) broadly disseminate information 
                      regarding the availability of loans made under 
                      this subsection;
                          ``(ii) during the period beginning July 1, 
                      2008 and ending June 30, 2010, provide to the 
                      Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and 
                      Pensions of the Senate and the Committee on 
                      Education and Labor of the House of 
                      Representatives and make available to the public--
                                    ``(I) copies of any new or revised 
                                plans or agreements made by guaranty 
                                agencies or the Department related to 
                                the authorities under this subsection;
                                    ``(II) quarterly reports on--
                                            ``(aa) the number and 
                                        amounts of loans originated or 
                                        approved pursuant to this 
                                        subsection by each guaranty 
                                        agency and eligible lender; and
                                            ``(bb) any related payments 
                                        by the Department, a guaranty 
                                        agency, or an eligible lender; 
                                        and
                                    ``(III) a budget estimate of the 
                                costs to the Federal Government 
                                (including subsidy and administrative 
                                costs) for each 100 dollars loaned, of 
                                loans made pursuant to this subsection 
                                between the date of enactment of the 
                                Ensuring Continued Access to Student 
                                Loans Act of 2008 and June 30, 2009, 
                                disaggregated by type of loan, compared 
                                to such costs to the Federal Government 
                                during such time period of comparable 
                                loans under this part and part D, 
                                disaggregated by part and by type of 
                                loan; and
                          ``(iii) beginning <<NOTE: Effective 
                      date.>> July 1, 2010, provide to the Committee on 
                      Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions of the 
                      Senate and the Committee on Education and Labor of 
                      the House of Representatives and make available to 
                      the public--
                                    ``(I) copies of any new or revised 
                                plans or agreements made by guaranty 
                                agencies or the Department related to 
                                the authorities under this subsection; 
                                and
                                    ``(II) annual reports on--
                                            ``(aa) the number and 
                                        amounts of loans originated or 
                                        approved pursuant to this 
                                        subsection by each guaranty 
                                        agency and eligible lender; and
                                            ``(bb) any related payments 
                                        by the Department, a guaranty 
                                        agency, or an eligible lender.

[[Page 122 STAT. 746]]

                    ``(B) Separate reporting.--The information required 
                to be reported under subparagraph (A)(ii)(II) shall be 
                reported separately for loans originated or approved 
                pursuant to paragraph (4), or payments related to such 
                loans, for the time period in which the Secretary is 
                authorized to make designations under paragraph (4).''.

    (b) Effective Date.--The <<NOTE: 20 USC 1078 note.>> amendments made 
by subsection (a) shall take effect on the date of enactment of this 
Act.

    (c) Review of Inducements <<NOTE: Deadlines. Regulations. 20 USC 
1078 note.>> Limitations.--Within 90 days after the date of enactment of 
this Act, the Secretary of Education shall review, and as necessary 
revise, the Department of Education's regulations concerning prohibited 
guaranty agency inducements to eligible lenders (34 CFR 682.401(e)) to 
ensure that such agencies do not engage in improper inducements in the 
expansion of operations of the lender-of-last-resort program as 
authorized by the amendments made by this 
section. <<NOTE: Reports.>> The Secretary shall submit a report on the 
review and revision required by this subsection to the Committee on 
Education and Labor of the House of Representatives and the Committee on 
Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions of the Senate within 180 days 
after such date of enactment.
SEC. 6. MANDATORY ADVANCES.

    (a) In General.--Section 421(b) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 
(20 U.S.C. 1071(b)) is amended--
            (1) in paragraph (4), by striking ``programs, and'' and 
        inserting ``programs,'';
            (2) in paragraph (5), by striking ``agencies.'' and 
        inserting ``agencies, and''; and
            (3) by inserting before the matter following paragraph (5) 
        the following:
            ``(6) there is <<NOTE: Appropriation 
        authorization.>> authorized to be appropriated, and there are 
        appropriated, out of any money in the Treasury not otherwise 
        appropriated, such sums as may be necessary for the purpose of 
        carrying out section 422(c)(7).''.

    (b) Effective Date.--The <<NOTE: 20 USC 1071 note.>> amendments made 
by subsection (a) shall take effect on the date of enactment of this 
Act.
SEC. 7. TEMPORARY AUTHORITY TO PURCHASE STUDENT LOANS.

    (a) Spending Authority.--
            (1) Authority granted.--The first sentence of section 451(a) 
        of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1087a(a)) is 
        amended--
                    (A) by inserting ``(1)'' after ``as may be 
                necessary''; and
                    (B) by inserting before the period at the end of 
                such sentence the following: ``; and (2) for purchasing 
                loans under section 459A''.
            (2) Conforming amendment.--Section 451(a) of such Act (20 
        U.S.C. 1087a(a)) is further amended by striking ``Such loans 
        shall'' and inserting ``Loans made under this part shall''.

    (b) Temporary Authority.--Part D of title IV of the Higher Education 
Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1087a et seq.) is amended by inserting after 
section 459 the following new section:
``SEC. 459A. <<NOTE: 20 USC 1087i-1.>> TEMPORARY AUTHORITY TO 
                          PURCHASE STUDENT LOANS.

    ``(a) Authority To Purchase.--

[[Page 122 STAT. 747]]

            ``(1) Authority; determination required.--Upon a 
        determination by the Secretary that there is an inadequate 
        availability of loan capital to meet the demand for loans under 
        sections 428, 428B, or 428H, whether as a result of inadequate 
        liquidity for such loans or for other reasons, the Secretary, in 
        consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury, is authorized 
        to purchase, or enter into forward commitments to purchase, from 
        any eligible lender, as defined by section 435(d)(1), loans 
        first disbursed under sections 428, 428B, or 428H on or after 
        October 1, 2003, and before July 1, 2009, on such terms as the 
        Secretary, the Secretary of the Treasury, and the Director of 
        the Office of Management and Budget jointly determine are in the 
        best interest of the United States, except that any purchase 
        under this section shall not result in any net cost to the 
        Federal Government (including the cost of servicing the loans 
        purchased), as determined jointly by the Secretary, the 
        Secretary of the Treasury, and the Director of the Office of 
        Management and Budget.
            ``(2) Federal register notice.--The Secretary, the Secretary 
        of the Treasury, and the Director of the Office of Management 
        and Budget, shall jointly publish a notice in the Federal 
        Register prior to any purchase of loans under this section 
        that--
                    ``(A) establishes the terms and conditions governing 
                the purchases authorized by paragraph (1);
                    ``(B) includes an outline of the methodology and 
                factors that the Secretary, the Secretary of the 
                Treasury, and the Director of the Office of Management 
                and Budget, will jointly consider in evaluating the 
                price at which to purchase loans made under section 428, 
                428B, or 428H; and
                    ``(C) describes how the use of such methodology and 
                consideration of such factors used to determine purchase 
                price will ensure that loan purchases do not result in 
                any net cost to the Federal Government (including the 
                cost of servicing the loans purchased).

    ``(b) Proceeds.--The Secretary shall require, as a condition of any 
purchase under subsection (a), that the funds paid by the Secretary to 
any eligible lender under this section shall be used: (1) to ensure 
continued participation of such lender in the Federal student loan 
programs authorized under part B of this title; and (2) to originate new 
Federal loans to students, as authorized under part B of this title.
    ``(c) Maintaining Servicing Arrangements.--The Secretary may, if 
agreed upon by an eligible lender selling loans under this section, 
contract with such lender for the servicing of the loans purchased, 
provided that--
            ``(1) the cost of such servicing arrangement does not exceed 
        the cost the Federal Government would otherwise incur for the 
        servicing of loans purchased, as determined under subsection 
        (a); and
            ``(2) such servicing arrangement is in the best interest of 
        the borrowers whose loans are purchased.

    ``(d) Expiration of Authority.--The Secretary's authority to 
purchase loans under this section shall expire on July 1, 2009.''.
    (c) Contracting Authority.--Section 456(b) of the Higher Education 
Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1087f(b)) is amended by inserting

[[Page 122 STAT. 748]]

``or purchased'' after ``loans made'' each place it appears in 
paragraphs (2) and (3).
SEC. 8. SENSE OF CONGRESS.

    It is a sense of Congress that, at a time when our economy is 
fragile and higher education and retraining opportunities are more 
important than ever--
            (1) the Federal financial institutions, such as the Federal 
        Financing Bank and Federal Reserve, and federally chartered 
        private entities such as the Federal Home Loan Banks and others, 
        should consider, in consultation with the Secretary of Treasury 
        and the Secretary of Education, using available authorities in a 
        timely manner, if needed, to assist in ensuring that students 
        and families can access Federal student loans for academic year 
        2008-2009, and if needed in the subsequent academic year, in a 
        manner that results in no increased costs to taxpayers; and
            (2) any action taken as a result of such consideration 
        should in no way limit or delay the Secretary of Education's 
        authority to operate the lender-of-last-resort provisions of 
        section 428(j) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (as amended 
        by this Act), nor the authority to purchase Federal Family 
        Education Loan Program loans, as authorized by section 459A of 
        such Act (as added by this Act).
SEC. 9. GAO STUDY ON IMPACT OF INCREASED LOAN LIMITS.

    (a) Study Required.--The Comptroller General shall conduct a study 
to evaluate the impact of the increase in Federal loan limits provided 
for in section 2 of this Act and section 8005 of the Deficit Reduction 
Act of 2005 with respect to the impact on--
            (1) tuition, fees, and room and board at institutions of 
        higher education; and
            (2) private loan borrowing by students and parents for 
        attendance at institutions of higher education.

    (b) Study Components.--The study required under subsection (a) shall 
be conducted for each major sector of institutions of higher education 
over a 5-year time period. The report shall specifically analyze the 
following:
            (1) Whether, on average, tuition, fees, and room and board 
        increase, decrease, or remain unchanged in each such sector 
        after the increases in Federal loan limits take effect.
            (2) Whether the amount of private educational loans taken 
        out by students (and their parents) at institutions in each such 
        sector to pay tuition, fees, and room and board increase, 
        decrease, or remain unchanged.

    (c) Report.--Not later than one year after the date of enactment of 
this Act, the Comptroller General shall provide an interim report to the 
Committee on Education and Labor of the House of Representatives and the 
Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions of the Senate 
including the initial results of the study conducted under this section. 
The Comptroller General shall follow up with such Committees after the 
third year and the fifth year after such date of enactment.
SEC. 10. ACADEMIC COMPETITIVENESS GRANTS.

    (a) Amendments.--Section 401A of the Higher Education Act of 1965 
(20 U.S.C. 1070a-1) is amended--
            (1) by striking subsection (a) and inserting the following:

[[Page 122 STAT. 749]]

    ``(a) Academic Competitiveness Grant Program Authorized.--The 
Secretary shall award grants, in the amounts specified in subsection 
(d)(1), to eligible students to assist the eligible students in paying 
their college education expenses.'';
            (2) in subsection (b)--
                    (A) by striking ``academic year'' each place it 
                appears and inserting ``year''; and
                    (B) in paragraph (2), by striking ``third or 
                fourth'' and inserting ``third, fourth, or fifth'';
            (3) in subsection (c)--
                    (A) in the matter preceding paragraph (1)--
                          (i) by striking ``full-time'';
                          (ii) by striking ``academic'' and inserting 
                      ``award''; and
                          (iii) by striking ``is made'' and inserting 
                      ``is made for a grant under this section'';
                    (B) by striking paragraphs (1) and (2) and inserting 
                the following:
            ``(1) is eligible for a Federal Pell Grant;
            ``(2) is enrolled or accepted for enrollment in an 
        institution of higher education on not less than a half-time 
        basis; and''; and
                    (C) in paragraph (3)--
                          (i) by striking ``academic'' each place the 
                      term appears;
                          (ii) in subparagraph (A)--
                                    (I) by striking the matter preceding 
                                clause (i) and inserting the following:
                    ``(A) the first year of a program of undergraduate 
                education at a two- or four-year degree-granting 
                institution of higher education (including a program of 
                not less than one year for which the institution awards 
                a 
                certificate)--'';
                                    (II) by striking clause (i) and 
                                inserting the following:
                          ``(i) has successfully completed, after 
                      January 1, 2006, a rigorous secondary school 
                      program of study that prepares students for 
                      college and is recognized as such by the State 
                      official designated for such recognition, or with 
                      respect to any private or home school, the school 
                      official designated for such recognition for such 
                      school, consistent with State law, which 
                      recognized program shall be reported to the 
                      Secretary; and''; and
                                    (III) in clause (ii), by inserting 
                                ``, except as part of a secondary school 
                                program of study'' before the semicolon;
                          (iii) in subparagraph (B)--
                                    (I) in the matter preceding clause 
                                (i), by striking ``year of'' and all 
                                that follows through ``higher 
                                education'' and inserting ``year of a 
                                program of undergraduate education at a 
                                two- or four-year degree-granting 
                                institution of higher education 
                                (including a program of not less than 
                                two years for which the institution 
                                awards a certificate)''; and

[[Page 122 STAT. 750]]

                                    (II) in clause (ii), by striking 
                                ``or'' after the semicolon at the end;
                          (iv) in subparagraph (C)--
                                    (I) in the matter preceding 
                                subclause (I) of clause (i), by 
                                inserting ``certified by the institution 
                                to be'' after ``is'';
                                    (II) by striking clause (i)(II) and 
                                inserting the following:
                                    ``(II) a critical foreign language; 
                                and''; and
                                    (III) in clause (ii), by striking 
                                the period at the end and inserting a 
                                semicolon; and
                          (v) by adding at the end the following:
                    ``(D) the third or fourth year of a program of 
                undergraduate education at an institution of higher 
                education (as defined in section 101(a)), is attending 
                an institution that demonstrates, to the satisfaction of 
                the Secretary, that the institution--
                          ``(i) offers a single liberal arts curriculum 
                      leading to a baccalaureate degree, under which 
                      students are not permitted by the institution to 
                      declare a major in a particular subject area, and 
                      the student--
                                    ``(I)(aa) studies, in such years, a 
                                subject described in subparagraph (C)(i) 
                                that is at least equal to the 
                                requirements for an academic major at an 
                                institution of higher education that 
                                offers a baccalaureate degree in such 
                                subject, as certified by an appropriate 
                                official from the institution; and
                                    ``(bb) has obtained a cumulative 
                                grade point average of at least 3.0 (or 
                                the equivalent as determined under 
                                regulations prescribed by the Secretary) 
                                in the relevant coursework; or
                                    ``(II) is required, as part of the 
                                student's degree program, to undertake a 
                                rigorous course of study in mathematics, 
                                biology, chemistry, and physics, which 
                                consists of at least--
                                            ``(aa) 4 years of study in 
                                        mathematics; and
                                            ``(bb) 3 years of study in 
                                        the sciences, with a laboratory 
                                        component in each of those 
                                        years; and
                          ``(ii) offered such curriculum prior to 
                      February 8, 2006; or
                    ``(E) the fifth year of a program of undergraduate 
                education that requires 5 full years of coursework, as 
                certified by the appropriate official of the degree-
                granting institution of higher education, for which a 
                baccalaureate degree is awarded by a degree-granting 
                institution of higher education--
                          ``(i) is certified by the institution of 
                      higher education to be pursuing a major in--
                                    ``(I) the physical, life, or 
                                computer sciences, mathematics, 
                                technology, or engineering (as 
                                determined by the Secretary pursuant to 
                                regulations); or
                                    ``(II) a critical foreign language; 
                                and
                          ``(ii) has obtained a cumulative grade point 
                      average of at least 3.0 (or the equivalent, as 
                      determined under

[[Page 122 STAT. 751]]

                      regulations prescribed by the Secretary) in the 
                      coursework required for the major described in 
                      clause (i).'';
            (4) in subsection (d)--
                    (A) in paragraph (1)--
                          (i) in subparagraph (A)--
                                    (I) by striking ``The'' and 
                                inserting ``In general.--The'';
                                    (II) in clause (ii), by striking 
                                ``or'' after the semicolon at the end;
                                    (III) in clause (iii), by striking 
                                ``subsection (c)(3)(C).'' and inserting 
                                ``subparagraph (C) or (D) of subsection 
                                (c)(3), for each of the two years 
                                described in such subparagraphs; or''; 
                                and
                                    (IV) by adding at the end the 
                                following:
                          ``(iv) $4,000 for an eligible student under 
                      subsection (c)(3)(E).''; and
                          (ii) in subparagraph (B)--
                                    (I) by striking ``Notwithstanding'' 
                                and inserting ``Limitation; ratable 
                                reduction.--Notwithstanding'';
                                    (II) by redesignating clauses (i), 
                                (ii), and (iii), as clauses (ii), (iii), 
                                and (iv), respectively; and
                                    (III) by inserting before clause 
                                (ii), as redesignated under subclause 
                                (II), the following:
                          ``(i) in any case in which a student attends 
                      an institution of higher education on less than a 
                      full-time basis, the amount of the grant that such 
                      student may receive shall be reduced in the same 
                      manner as a Federal Pell Grant is reduced under 
                      section 401(b)(2)(B);'';
                    (B) by striking paragraph (2) and inserting the 
                following:
            ``(2) Limitations.--
                    ``(A) No grants for previous credit.--The Secretary 
                may not award a grant under this section to any student 
                for any year of a program of undergraduate education for 
                which the student received credit before the date of 
                enactment of the Higher Education Reconciliation Act of 
                2005.
                    ``(B) Number of grants.--The Secretary may not award 
                more than one grant to a student described in subsection 
                (c)(3) for each year of study described in such 
                subsection.''; and
                    (C) by adding at the end the following: and
            ``(3) Calculation of grant payments.--An institution of 
        higher education shall make payments of a grant awarded under 
        this section in the same manner, using the same payment periods, 
        as such institution makes payments for Federal Pell Grants under 
        section 401.'';
            (5) by striking subsection (e)(2) and inserting the 
        following:
            ``(2) Availability of funds.--Funds made available under 
        paragraph (1) for a fiscal year shall remain available for the 
        succeeding fiscal year.'';
            (6) in subsection (f)--
                    (A) by striking ``at least one'' and inserting ``not 
                less than one''; and

[[Page 122 STAT. 752]]

                    (B) by striking ``subsection (c)(3)(A) and (B)'' and 
                inserting ``subparagraphs (A) and (B) of subsection 
                (c)(3)''; and
            (7) in subsection (g), by striking ``academic'' and 
        inserting ``award''.

    (b) Effective Date.--The <<NOTE: 20 USC 1070a-1 note.>> amendments 
made by subsection (a) shall take effect on January 1, 2009.
SEC. 11. INAPPLICABILITY OF <<NOTE: 20 USC 1089 note.>> MASTER 
                      CALENDAR AND NEGOTIATED RULEMAKING 
                      REQUIREMENTS.

    Sections 482 and 492 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 
1089, 1098a) shall not apply to amendments made by sections 2 through 9 
of this Act, or to any regulations promulgated under such amendments.

    Approved May 7, 2008.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY--H.R. 5715:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

HOUSE REPORTS: No. 110-583 (Comm. on Education and Labor).
CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 154 (2008):
            Apr. 16, 17, considered and passed House.
            Apr. 30, considered and passed Senate, amended.
            May 1, House concurred in Senate amendments.

                                  <all>