Text: S.2518 — 113th Congress (2013-2014)All Information (Except Text)

There is one version of the bill.

Text available as:

Shown Here:
Introduced in Senate (06/24/2014)

 
[Congressional Bills 113th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
[S. 2518 Introduced in Senate (IS)]

113th CONGRESS
  2d Session
                                S. 2518

    To establish a grant program to incentivize States to implement 
   comprehensive reforms and innovative strategies to significantly 
  improve postsecondary outcomes for low-income and first generation 
  college students, including increasing postsecondary enrollment and 
  graduation rates, to reduce the need of postsecondary students for 
remedial education, to increase alignment of elementary, secondary, and 
  postsecondary education, and to promote innovation in postsecondary 
                   education, and for other purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                   IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

                             June 24, 2014

  Mr. Franken introduced the following bill; which was read twice and 
  referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
    To establish a grant program to incentivize States to implement 
   comprehensive reforms and innovative strategies to significantly 
  improve postsecondary outcomes for low-income and first generation 
  college students, including increasing postsecondary enrollment and 
  graduation rates, to reduce the need of postsecondary students for 
remedial education, to increase alignment of elementary, secondary, and 
  postsecondary education, and to promote innovation in postsecondary 
                   education, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``College Access Act of 2014''.

SEC. 2. DEFINITIONS.

    In this Act:
            (1) Accelerated learning model.--The term ``accelerated 
        learning model'' means a program that--
                    (A) is designed to help students in secondary 
                school learn at a faster and more rigorous pace; and
                    (B) offers students the opportunity to earn 
                postsecondary credits and, in some cases, obtain an 
                occupational certificate or degree (including an 
                associate degree), while such students are in secondary 
                school.
            (2) Adult education.--The term ``adult education'' means 
        services or instruction below the postsecondary level for 
        individuals--
                    (A) who have attained 16 years of age;
                    (B) who are not enrolled or required to be enrolled 
                in secondary school under State law; and
                    (C) who--
                            (i) lack sufficient mastery of basic 
                        educational skills to function effectively in 
                        society;
                            (ii) do not have a secondary school 
                        diploma, or the recognized equivalent of such 
                        diploma, and have not achieved an equivalent 
                        level of education; or
                            (iii) are unable to speak, read, or write 
                        in the English language.
            (3) Community college.--The term ``community college'' has 
        the meaning given the term ``junior or community college'' in 
        section 312(f) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 
        1058(f)).
            (4) Dual enrollment program.--The term ``dual enrollment 
        program'' means an academic program through which a secondary 
        school student is able to simultaneously earn credit toward a 
        secondary school diploma and a postsecondary degree or 
        certificate.
            (5) Eligible entity.--The term ``eligible entity'' means a 
        State or a consortium of States.
            (6) Enrollment status.--The term ``enrollment status'' has 
        the meaning given the term in section 690.2(c) of title 34, 
        Code of Federal Regulations (as in effect on July 1, 2011).
            (7) Federal pell grant.--The term ``Federal Pell Grant'' 
        means a Federal Pell Grant under section 401 of the Higher 
        Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1070a).
            (8) First generation college student.--The term ``first 
        generation college student'' has the meaning given the term in 
        section 402A(h) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 
        1070a-11(h)).
            (9) Institution of higher education.--The term 
        ``institution of higher education'' has the meaning given the 
        term in section 102 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 
        U.S.C. 1002).
            (10) Low-income student.--The term ``low-income student'' 
        means a student with a taxable family income for the preceding 
        year that did not exceed 80 percent of the median taxable 
        family income for a family of the same size as the student in 
        the State in which the student is a resident.
            (11) Net price.--The term ``net price'' has the meaning 
        given the term in section 132(a) of the Higher Education Act of 
        1965 (20 U.S.C. 1015a(a)).
            (12) Open educational resource.--The term ``open 
        educational resource'' means an educational resource that is 
        licensed under an open license and freely available online to 
        the public.
            (13) Open license.--The term ``open license'' means a 
        worldwide, royalty-free, nonexclusive, perpetual, and 
        irrevocable copyright license that grants the public permission 
        to access, reproduce, publicly perform, publicly display, 
        adapt, distribute, and otherwise use the work governed by such 
        license and adaptations of such work for any purpose, 
        conditioned only upon the requirement that an author of such 
        work receives appropriate attribution.
            (14) Postsecondary credential.--The term ``postsecondary 
        credential'' means an associate degree, a baccalaureate degree, 
        or a certificate provided by a community college or a 
        postsecondary vocational institution.
            (15) Postsecondary vocational institution.--The term 
        ``postsecondary vocational institution'' has the meaning given 
        such term in section 102(c) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 
        (20 U.S.C. 1002(c)).
            (16) Secondary school.--The term ``secondary school'' has 
        the meaning given the term in section 9101 of the Elementary 
        and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 7801).
            (17) Secretary.--The term ``Secretary'' means the Secretary 
        of Education.
            (18) State.--The term ``State'' has the meaning given the 
        term in section 103 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 
        U.S.C. 1003).

SEC. 3. RESERVATION OF FUNDS.

    From amounts made available to carry out this Act for each fiscal 
year, the Secretary may reserve not more than 2 percent of such amounts 
to carry out activities in accordance with this Act related to 
technical assistance, evaluation, outreach, and dissemination.

SEC. 4. AUTHORIZATION OF STATE GRANT PROGRAM.

    (a) In General.--For each fiscal year for which funds are 
appropriated under section 11 and from such amounts not reserved under 
section 3, the Secretary shall award planning and implementation grants 
to eligible entities to enable such entities to develop or implement a 
comprehensive State plan described in section 5 to improve 
postsecondary outcomes for all students, especially low-income and 
first generation college students.
    (b) Planning and Implementation Grants.--In accordance with 
subparagraph (a), the Secretary shall award--
            (1) planning grants, on a competitive basis, to eligible 
        entities to enable such entities to develop a comprehensive 
        State plan described in section 5; and
            (2) implementation grants, on a competitive basis, to 
        eligible entities and without regard to whether the entities 
        have received a planning grant under paragraph (1), to 
        implement a comprehensive State plan described in section 5.
    (c) Limitation.--A State or a consortium of States shall not have 
more than 1 planning grant or more than 1 implementation grant at any 
given time. A State or a consortium of States awarded a planning grant 
or an implementation grant may reapply for such grant after the 
termination of such grant.
    (d) Duration.--
            (1) Planning grants.--Each planning grant awarded under 
        subsection (b)(1) shall be for a period of not more than 18 
        months.
            (2) Implementation grants.--
                    (A) In general.--Each implementation grant awarded 
                under subsection (b)(2) shall be for a period of not 
                more than 5 years, subject to the requirement under 
                subparagraph (B).
                    (B) Sufficient progress.--An implementation grant 
                awarded under subsection (b)(2) shall terminate after a 
                period of 2 years, if the Secretary determines that the 
                eligible entity receiving such implementation grant has 
                not made sufficient progress in--
                            (i) implementing a comprehensive State plan 
                        described in section 5, at a rate that the 
                        Secretary determines will result in complete 
                        implementation of such plan during the 
                        remainder of the grant period; and
                            (ii) meeting the annual targets under 
                        section 7.

SEC. 5. COMPREHENSIVE STATE PLAN.

    (a) In General.--To carry out the objectives of this Act, an 
eligible entity that receives a grant under this Act shall develop, in 
the case of a planning grant, and implement, in the case of an 
implementation grant, a comprehensive State plan to--
            (1) enhance the affordability of postsecondary education; 
        and
            (2) increase the number and percentage of students 
        attaining a postsecondary credential, particularly first 
        generation college students and low-income students.
    (b) Reforms.--
            (1) Universally required reforms.--The comprehensive State 
        plan for each eligible entity receiving a grant under this Act 
        shall include each of the following reforms:
                    (A) Increasing the transparency of information 
                provided to students and the families of such students 
                about the costs and outcomes of attaining a 
                postsecondary credential in each State participating in 
                the eligible entity, and increasing access to such 
                information for students and their families, by taking 
                measures that shall include--
                            (i) requiring the institutions of higher 
                        education in each State participating in the 
                        eligible entity to adopt a net price calculator 
                        under section 132(h) of the Higher Education 
                        Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1015a(h)) that meets the 
                        requirements of paragraph (4);
                            (ii) adopting a common letter developed by 
                        the Secretary under section 484(a) of the 
                        Higher Education Opportunity Act (20 U.S.C. 
                        1092 note) for institutions of higher education 
                        in each State participating in the eligible 
                        entity to use in awarding financial aid to 
                        students;
                            (iii) enhancing the financial literacy of 
                        students and the families of such students 
                        regarding the costs of postsecondary education 
                        and financial aid opportunities, beginning when 
                        such students enter secondary school;
                            (iv) reporting accurate student graduation 
                        rates for institutions of higher education in 
                        each State participating in the eligible 
                        entity, disaggregated by status as a full-time 
                        student, or a part-time student, and status as 
                        a transfer student;
                            (v) developing practices for the continuous 
                        assessment of student learning at the 
                        postsecondary level and public reporting of 
                        student learning outcomes;
                            (vi) developing multi-year tuition and fee 
                        schedules; and
                            (vii) providing free degree audits to 
                        students residing in each State participating 
                        in the eligible entity.
                    (B) Implementing measures to maintain or increase 
                fiscal support for postsecondary education that shall 
                include--
                            (i) increasing need-based grant aid for 
                        postsecondary education; and
                            (ii) restricting the increase in tuition at 
                        public institutions of higher education in each 
                        State participating in the eligible entity to a 
                        rate that is below the rate of inflation.
            (2) Selective reforms.--The comprehensive State plan of 
        each eligible entity receiving a grant under this Act shall 
        include 1 or more of the following reforms, as chosen by such 
        eligible entity in accordance with paragraph (3):
                    (A) Removing barriers to innovation in 
                postsecondary education that shall include--
                            (i) developing innovative education 
                        delivery models, such as using technology to 
                        enhance online and classroom learning aimed to 
                        increase participation and retention of 
                        students, particularly first generation college 
                        students and low-income students;
                            (ii) promoting the use of technology to 
                        increase personalized learning, advising, and 
                        support services for students; and
                            (iii) creating programs to create and 
                        expand the use of open educational resources.
                    (B) Improving the transition of students to and 
                from postsecondary institutions and increasing the rate 
                of graduation of students from postsecondary 
                institutions, particularly such students graduating on 
                time, by--
                            (i) increasing participation in accelerated 
                        learning models, which may include--
                                    (I) subsidizing the cost of 
                                advanced placement program examinations 
                                for low-income students;
                                    (II) training teachers to offer 
                                advanced placement program courses;
                                    (III) subsidizing the cost of 
                                international baccalaureate 
                                examinations and programs for low-
                                income students;
                                    (IV) increasing access to dual 
                                enrollment programs for low-income 
                                students; and
                                    (V) developing programs to bring 
                                advanced placement program courses to 
                                rural schools;
                            (ii) reforming postsecondary remediation by 
                        taking measures, which may include--
                                    (I) reducing the need for 
                                remediation, by creating targeted 
                                inventions to occur in secondary school 
                                or adult education that align with 
                                higher education and waiving placement 
                                testing;
                                    (II) improving the quality of 
                                remediation courses and developmental 
                                education based on emerging research-
                                based practices; and
                                    (III) improving the process for 
                                identifying the foundational skills 
                                needs of students for remediation or 
                                developmental education while such 
                                students are in secondary school or 
                                adult education;
                            (iii) improving the credit transfer 
                        policies and articulation agreements, as 
                        defined in section 486A(a) of the Higher 
                        Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1093a(a)), 
                        between or among institutions of higher 
                        education in each State participating in the 
                        eligible entity; and
                            (iv) incentivizing institutions of higher 
                        education in each State participating in the 
                        eligible entity to increase the number and 
                        percentage of Federal Pell Grant recipients who 
                        attain a postsecondary credential at such 
                        institutions of higher education.
            (3) Requirement for selecting reforms.--An eligible entity 
        receiving a grant under this Act shall only select a reform 
        under paragraph (2) that each State participating in the 
        eligible entity does not have in place on the date on which 
        such eligible entity receives such grant.
            (4) Requirements for net price calculator.--The net price 
        calculator, adopted under paragraph (1)(A)(i) by each 
        institution of higher education in each State participating in 
        an eligible entity, shall meet each of the following 
        requirements:
                    (A) The link to the net price calculator made 
                publicly available on the website of such institution--
                            (i) shall be labeled as a ``net price 
                        calculator'' in a prominent, clear, and 
                        conspicuous manner, using a size and contrast 
                        (such as shade) that is readily noticeable and 
                        readable;
                            (ii) shall be posted on the website of such 
                        institution in locations that provide 
                        information on costs and aid (such as web pages 
                        for financial aid, prospective students, or 
                        tuition and fees);
                            (iii) shall match in size and font to the 
                        other prominent links on the primary web page 
                        of such website; and
                            (iv) may be included on the web page of 
                        such institution that contains information 
                        relating to compliance with Federal, State, and 
                        local laws.
                    (B) The results screen for the net price calculator 
                shall specify each of the following:
                            (i) The individual net price (as calculated 
                        under section 132(h)(2) of the Higher Education 
                        Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1015a(h)(2))) for an 
                        individual student, which shall be the most 
                        visually prominent figure on such screen.
                            (ii) The cost of attendance at such 
                        institution of higher education for a first-
                        time, full-time undergraduate student enrolled 
                        in the institution, including--
                                    (I) tuition and fees;
                                    (II) the average annual cost of 
                                room and board;
                                    (III) the average annual cost of 
                                books and supplies; and
                                    (IV) the estimated cost of other 
                                expenses (including personal expenses 
                                and transportation).
                            (iii) The estimated total need-based grant 
                        aid and merit-based grant aid, from Federal, 
                        State, and institutional sources, that may be 
                        available to an individual student, showing the 
                        subtotal for each such category and the total 
                        of all sources of grant aid.
                            (iv) The percentage of the first-time, 
                        full-time undergraduate students enrolled in 
                        the institution that received any type of grant 
                        aid described in clause (iii).
                            (v) The disclaimer described in section 
                        132(h)(4) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 
                        (20 U.S.C. 1015a(h)(4)).
                            (vi) In the case of a calculator that--
                                    (I) includes questions to estimate 
                                the eligibility of a student (or 
                                prospective student) for veteran's 
                                education benefits (as defined in 
                                section 480(c) of the Higher Education 
                                Act of 1956 (20 U.S.C. 1087vv(c))) or 
                                educational benefits for active duty 
                                service members, the results screen 
                                shall display such benefits in a manner 
                                that clearly distinguishes them from 
                                the grant aid described in clause 
                                (iii); or
                                    (II) does not include questions to 
                                estimate eligibility for the benefits 
                                described in subclause (I), the results 
                                screen shall indicate that certain 
                                students (or prospective students) may 
                                qualify for such benefits and include a 
                                link to information about such 
                                benefits.
                    (C) The institution shall populate the calculator 
                with data from not earlier than 2 academic years prior 
                to the most recent academic year completed on the date 
                of enactment of this Act.
                    (D) The net price calculator shall clearly indicate 
                which questions are required to be answered for a net 
                price estimate.
                    (E) In the case of a calculator that requests 
                contact information from users, the net price 
                calculator shall clearly indicate that such request is 
                ``optional''.
                    (F) The net price calculator shall protect the 
                confidentiality of users by including mechanisms to 
                prevent any personally identifiable information from 
                being sold or made available to third parties. The net 
                price calculator shall clearly state: ``Any information 
                that you provide on this site is confidential.''.
                    (G) The net price calculator shall not store 
                responses, shall not require any personal identifying 
                information from users, and shall clearly state: ``The 
                Net Price Calculator does not store your responses and 
                does not require personal identifying information of 
                any kind.''.

SEC. 6. APPLICATIONS.

    (a) Submission.--An eligible entity desiring a planning grant or an 
implementation grant under this Act shall submit an application to the 
Secretary at such time, in such manner, and containing such information 
as the Secretary may reasonably require.
    (b) Contents for All Grants.--Each application for a planning grant 
or an implementation grant under this Act shall include, at a minimum, 
a demonstration that the eligible entity--
            (1) has established mechanisms and the ability to use funds 
        made available under this Act and other sources of funding, 
        including Federal, State, and local funds, to implement the 
        reforms under section 5(b); and
            (2) will include, in carrying the reforms under section 
        5(b), all public institutions of higher education within each 
        State participating in the eligible entity and all State 
        agencies with governing authority over postsecondary education 
        in each such State.
    (c) Planning Grants.--An application for a planning grant awarded 
under section 4(b)(1) shall include, in addition to the requirements 
described in subsection (b)--
            (1) a proposal describing how the eligible entity will 
        develop and establish a comprehensive State plan to implement 
        the reforms under section 5(b);
            (2) a description of how the eligible entity will include, 
        in developing the comprehensive State plan--
                    (A) all public institutions of higher education in 
                each State participating in the eligible entity;
                    (B) private nonprofit organizations that choose to 
                participate in the development of such plan;
                    (C) each State educational agency and local 
                educational agency (as such terms are defined in 
                section 9101 of the Elementary and Secondary Education 
                Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 7801)) in each State 
                participating in the eligible entity; and
                    (D) other stakeholders, as designated by the 
                Governor of each State participating in the eligible 
                entity; and
            (3) a description of the State agencies and other entities 
        that the Governor of each State participating in the eligible 
        entity has determined will control the programs funded by the 
        grant and how such entities will interact in carrying out the 
        activities of the planning grant.
    (d) Implementation Grants.--An application for an implementation 
grant awarded under section 4(b)(2) shall include, in addition to the 
requirements described in subsection (b)--
            (1) a proposal describing how the eligible entity will use 
        the implementation grant to--
                    (A) carry out the reforms under section 5(b), in 
                accordance with the comprehensive State plan; and
                    (B) meet the annual targets established by the 
                eligible entity under section 7, at a rate that the 
                Secretary determines will result in reaching the goals 
                of the grant established by such eligible entity under 
                such section; and
            (2) a description of the State agencies and other entities 
        that the Governor of each State participating in the eligible 
        entity has determined will control the programs funded by the 
        grant and how such entities will interact in carrying out the 
        activities of the implementation grant.
    (e) Application Review.--
            (1) In general.--The Secretary shall award grants under 
        this Act on a competitive basis considering the quality of the 
        applications submitted.
            (2) Publication of explanation.--The Secretary shall 
        prepare and submit to Congress and publish on the website of 
        the Department of Education an explanation of the application 
        process, including the fairness, equity, transparency, and 
        objectivity of the process.
            (3) Priority.--In awarding grants under this Act, the 
        Secretary shall give priority to eligible entities that show a 
        stronger capacity to use the funds made available under this 
        Act to implement a comprehensive State plan under section 5.

SEC. 7. PERFORMANCE INDICATORS; ANNUAL TARGETS; GOALS.

    (a) In General.--Each eligible entity receiving a planning grant 
under this Act, or each eligible entity described in subsection (c) 
that is applying for an implementation grant under this Act, shall 
establish, subject to approval by the Secretary--
            (1) performance indicators that measure the progress of 
        such eligible entity in each of the areas described in 
        subsection (b);
            (2) annual targets, for the programs and activities carried 
        out under this Act, that will enable such eligible entity to 
        reach the goals under paragraph (3); and
            (3) goals, to be met by such eligible entity at the end of 
        the implementation grant period, for achieving progress in each 
        of the areas described in subsection (b).
    (b) Progress Areas.--The performance indicators, annual targets, 
and goals described in subsection (a) shall, at a minimum, track the 
progress of the eligible entity in each of the following areas:
            (1) Implementing the reforms under section 5(b).
            (2) Increasing--
                    (A) the student graduation rate of first generation 
                college students and low-income students at 
                institutions of higher education; and
                    (B) the number and percentage of students from 
                community colleges and postsecondary vocational 
                institutions who transfer to a 4-year institution of 
                higher education and attain a baccalaureate degree.
            (3) Reducing the net price of attaining a postsecondary 
        credential.
    (c) Implementation Grants.--An eligible entity that has received a 
planning grant under this Act may use the performance indicators, 
annual targets, and goals developed by such entity using the funds of 
such planning grant to apply for and carry out the activities of an 
implementation grant under this Act. An eligible entity that has not 
received a planning grant under this Act shall establish performance 
indicators, annual targets, and goals described in subsection (a) prior 
to applying for an implementation grant under this Act and verify such 
establishment in the application for such implementation grant.

SEC. 8. USES OF FUNDS.

    (a) In General.--An eligible entity receiving funds from a grant 
under this Act shall use such funds to carry out the activities of the 
grant.
    (b) Prohibitions.--An eligible entity receiving funds from a grant 
under this Act shall not use such funds to--
            (1) promote any lender's loans; or
            (2) compensate for a decrease in State appropriations for 
        higher education.
    (c) Terminated Grants.--If an implementation grant is terminated 
under section 4(d)(2)(B), the eligible entity that received such grant 
shall return any unused funds of the grant to the Secretary. The 
Secretary shall use such funds to--
            (1) increase funds made available to other grants awarded 
        under this Act; or
            (2) award additional grants to other eligible entities.

SEC. 9. REPORTS AND EVALUATION.

    (a) Reports.--
            (1) In general.--An eligible entity that receives an 
        implementation grant under this Act shall submit to the 
        Secretary an annual report that, at a minimum, includes--
                    (A) data on the progress of such eligible entity in 
                achieving the annual targets established under section 
                7; and
                    (B) a description of the challenges that such 
                eligible entity has faced in carrying out the grant and 
                how such eligible entity has addressed or plans to 
                address such challenges.
    (b) Evaluation.--The Secretary shall--
            (1) acting through the Director of the Institute of 
        Education Sciences, evaluate the implementation and impact of 
        the activities carried out by this Act; and
            (2) disseminate research on best practices for carrying out 
        activities to achieve the objectives of this Act.

SEC. 10. SUPPLEMENT AND NOT SUPPLANT.

    The funds authorized under this Act shall supplement, and not 
supplant, other Federal, State, and local funds that are available to 
enhance the affordability of attaining a postsecondary credential and 
increase the student graduation rates for institutions of higher 
education.

SEC. 11. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

    There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be 
necessary to carry out this Act.
                                 <all>

Share This