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113th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session                                                     113-529

======================================================================



 
 ADVANCING COMPETENCY-BASED EDUCATION DEMONSTRATION PROJECT ACT OF 2014

                                _______
                                

 July 17, 2014.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

Mr. Kline, from the Committee on Education and the Workforce, submitted 
                             the following

                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                             MINORITY VIEWS

                        [To accompany H.R. 3136]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Education and the Workforce, to whom was 
referred the bill (H.R. 3136) to establish a demonstration 
program for competency-based education, having considered the 
same, report favorably thereon with an amendment and recommend 
that the bill as amended do pass.
    The amendment is as follows:
  Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

  This Act may be cited as the ``Advancing Competency-Based Education 
Demonstration Project Act of 2014''.

SEC. 2. COMPETENCY-BASED EDUCATION DEMONSTRATION PROJECTS.

  (a) Projects.--Part G of title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 
(20 U.S.C. 1088 et seq.) is amended by inserting after section 486A the 
following:

``SEC. 486B. COMPETENCY-BASED EDUCATION DEMONSTRATION PROJECTS.

  ``(a) Demonstration Projects Authorized.--The Secretary shall select, 
in accordance with subsection (c), eligible entities to voluntarily 
carry out competency-based education demonstration projects and receive 
waivers described in subsection (d) to carry out such projects.
  ``(b) Application.--
          ``(1) In general.--Each eligible entity desiring to carry out 
        a demonstration project under this section shall submit an 
        application to the Secretary, at such time and in such manner 
        as the Secretary may require.
          ``(2) Amendments.--An eligible entity may submit to the 
        Secretary amendments to the eligible entity's application under 
        paragraph (1), at such time and in such manner as the Secretary 
        may require, which the Secretary shall approve or deny within 
        15 days of receipt.
          ``(3) Contents.--Each application shall include--
                  ``(A) a description of the competency-based education 
                to be offered by the eligible entity under the 
                demonstration project;
                  ``(B) a description of the proposed academic 
                delivery, business, and financial models for the 
                demonstration project, including explanations of how 
                competency-based education offered under the 
                demonstration project would--
                          ``(i) result in the achievement of 
                        competencies;
                          ``(ii) differ from standard credit hour 
                        approaches, in whole or in part; and
                          ``(iii) result in lower costs or shortened 
                        time to degree, certificate, or credential 
                        completion;
                  ``(C) a description of how the competency-based 
                education offered under the demonstration project will 
                progress a student toward completion of a degree, 
                certificate, or credential;
                  ``(D) a description of how the eligible entity will 
                articulate the transcript from the competency-based 
                education demonstration project to another program 
                within an institution of higher education that is part 
                of the eligible entity or to another institution of 
                higher education;
                  ``(E) a description of the statutory and regulatory 
                requirements described in subsection (d) for which the 
                eligible entity is seeking a waiver, and why such 
                waiver is necessary to carry out the demonstration 
                project;
                  ``(F) a description of how the eligible entity will 
                develop and evaluate the competencies and assessments 
                of student knowledge (which may include prior-learning 
                assessments) administered as part of the demonstration 
                project, including how such competencies and 
                assessments are aligned with workforce needs;
                  ``(G) a description of the proposal for determining a 
                student's Federal student aid eligibility under this 
                title for participating in the demonstration project, 
                the award and distribution of such aid, and safeguards 
                to ensure that students are making satisfactory 
                progress that warrants disbursement of such aid;
                  ``(H) a description of the students to whom 
                competency-based education will be offered, including 
                an assurance that the demonstration project will enroll 
                a minimum of 50 and a maximum of 3,000 students;
                  ``(I) an assurance that students participating in the 
                demonstration project will not be eligible for more 
                Federal assistance under this title than such students 
                would have been eligible for under a traditional 
                program; and
                  ``(J) an assurance the eligible entity will identify 
                and disseminate best practices with respect to the 
                demonstration project to other eligible entities 
                carrying out a demonstration project under this 
                section.
  ``(c) Selection.--
          ``(1) In general.--Not later than 6 months after the date of 
        enactment of this section, the Secretary shall select not more 
        than 20 eligible entities to carry out a competency-based 
        education demonstration project under this section.
          ``(2) Considerations.--In selecting eligible entities under 
        paragraph (1), the Secretary shall--
                  ``(A) prioritize projects which show promise in 
                reducing the time or cost required to complete a 
                degree, certificate, or credential;
                  ``(B) consider the number and quality of applications 
                received;
                  ``(C) consider an eligible entity's--
                          ``(i) ability to successfully execute the 
                        demonstration project as described in the 
                        eligible entity's application under subsection 
                        (b);
                          ``(ii) commitment and ability to effectively 
                        finance the demonstration project;
                          ``(iii) ability to provide administrative 
                        capability and the expertise to evaluate 
                        student progress based on measures other than 
                        credit hours or clock hours; and
                          ``(iv) commitment to work with the Secretary 
                        to evaluate the demonstration project and the 
                        impact of the demonstration project;
                  ``(D) ensure the selection of a diverse group of 
                eligible entities with respect to size, mission, and 
                geographic distribution of the eligible entities;
                  ``(E) not limit the types of programs of study or 
                courses of study approved for participation in a 
                demonstration project; and
                  ``(F) not select an eligible entity that has had, for 
                1 of the preceding 2 fiscal years--
                          ``(i) a cohort default rate (defined in 
                        section 435(m)) that is 30 percent or greater; 
                        and
                          ``(ii) a borrowing rate of loans under this 
                        title of more than 50 percent of the students 
                        enrolled at institutions of higher education of 
                        the eligible entity.
  ``(d) Waivers.--The Secretary may waive for any eligible entity 
selected to carry out a demonstration project under this section any 
requirements of the following provisions of law (including any 
regulations promulgated under such provisions) or regulations and for 
which the eligible entity has provided a reason for waiving under 
subsection (b)(3)(E):
          ``(1) Subparagraphs (A) and (B) of section 102(a)(3).
          ``(2) Subsections (a) and (b) of section 481, as such 
        subsections relate to requirements for a minimum number of 
        weeks of instruction.
          ``(3) Section 484(l)(1).
          ``(4) Section 668.32(a)(1)(iii) of title 34, Code of Federal 
        Regulations.
          ``(5) Any of the requirements under provisions in title I, 
        part F of this title, or this part, that inhibit the operation 
        of competency-based education, including requirements with 
        respect to--
                  ``(A) documenting attendance;
                  ``(B) weekly academic activity;
                  ``(C) minimum weeks of instructional time;
                  ``(D) requirements for credit hour or clock hour 
                equivalencies;
                  ``(E) requirements for substantive interaction with 
                faculty; and
                  ``(F) definitions of the terms `academic year', 
                `full-time student', `term' (including `standard term', 
                `non-term', and `non-standard term'), `satisfactory 
                academic progress', `educational activity', `project of 
                study', and `payment period'.
  ``(e) Notification.--Not later than 6 months after the date of 
enactment of this section, the Secretary shall make available to the 
authorizing committees and the public a list of eligible entities 
selected to carry out a demonstration project under this section, which 
shall include for each such eligible entity--
          ``(1) the specific statutory and regulatory requirements 
        being waived under subsection (d); and
          ``(2) a description of the competency-based education 
        programs of study or courses of study to be offered under the 
        project.
  ``(f) Information and Evaluation.--
          ``(1) Information.--
                  ``(A) In general.--Each eligible entity that carries 
                out a demonstration project under this section shall 
                provide to the Director of the Institution of Education 
                Sciences with respect to the students participating in 
                the competency-based education project carried out by 
                the eligible entity the following information:
                          ``(i) The average number of credit hours the 
                        students earned prior to enrollment in the 
                        demonstration project, if applicable.
                          ``(ii) The number and percentage of students 
                        participating in the demonstration project that 
                        are also enrolled in programs of study or 
                        courses of study offered in credit hours or 
                        clock hours, disaggregated by student status as 
                        a first-year, second-year, third-year, fourth-
                        year, or other student.
                          ``(iii) The average period of time between 
                        the enrollment of a student in the 
                        demonstration project and the first assessment 
                        of student knowledge of such student.
                          ``(iv) The average time to 25 percent, 50 
                        percent, 75 percent, and 100 percent of the 
                        completion of a degree, certificate, or 
                        credential by a student who participated in the 
                        demonstration project.
                          ``(v) The percentage of assessments of 
                        student knowledge that students passed on the 
                        first attempt, during the period of the 
                        participation in the demonstration project by 
                        the students.
                          ``(vi) The percentage of assessments of 
                        student knowledge that students passed on the 
                        second attempt and the average period of time 
                        between the first and second attempts by 
                        students, during the period of the 
                        participation in the demonstration project by 
                        the students.
                          ``(vii) The average number of competencies a 
                        student acquired while participating in the 
                        demonstration project and the period of time 
                        during which the student acquired such 
                        competencies.
                          ``(viii) Such other information as the 
                        Director may reasonably require.
                  ``(B) Disaggregation.--Each eligible entity shall 
                provide the information required under subparagraph (A) 
                disaggregated by age, race, gender, disability status, 
                and status as a recipient of a Federal Pell Grant, 
                provided that the disaggregation of the information 
                does not identify any individual student participating 
                in the demonstration project.
          ``(2) Evaluation.--The Director of the Institute of Education 
        Sciences, in consultation with the Secretary, shall annually 
        evaluate each demonstration project under this section. Each 
        evaluation shall include--
                  ``(A) the extent to which the eligible entity has met 
                the goals set forth in its application to the 
                Secretary;
                  ``(B) the number and types of students participating 
                in the competency-based education offered under the 
                project, including the progress of participating 
                students toward completion of a degree, certificate, or 
                credential, and the extent to which participation and 
                retention in such project increased;
                  ``(C) whether the project led to reduced cost or time 
                to completion of a degree, certificate, or credential, 
                and the amount of cost or time reduced for such 
                completion;
                  ``(D) obstacles related to student financial 
                assistance for competency-based education;
                  ``(E) the extent to which statutory or regulatory 
                requirements not waived under subsection (d) present 
                difficulties for students or institutions of higher 
                education;
                  ``(F) degree, certificate, or credential completion 
                rates;
                  ``(G) retention rates;
                  ``(H) total cost and net cost to the student of the 
                competency-based education offered under the project;
                  ``(I) a description of the assessments of student 
                knowledge and the corresponding competencies; and
                  ``(J) outcomes of the assessments of student 
                knowledge.
          ``(3) Annual report.--The Director of the Institute of 
        Education Sciences shall annually provide to the authorizing 
        committees a report on--
                  ``(A) the evaluations of the demonstration projects 
                required under paragraph (2);
                  ``(B) the number and types of students receiving 
                assistance under this title for competency-based 
                education under such projects;
                  ``(C) the retention and completion rates of students 
                participating in such projects;
                  ``(D) any proposed statutory or regulatory changes 
                designed to support and enhance the expansion of 
                competency-based education, which may be independent of 
                or combined with traditional credit hour or clock hour 
                projects;
                  ``(E) the most effective means of delivering 
                competency-based education through demonstration 
                projects; and
                  ``(F) the appropriate level and distribution 
                methodology of Federal assistance under this title for 
                students enrolled in competency-based education.
  ``(g) Oversight.--In carrying out this section, the Secretary shall, 
on a continuing basis--
          ``(1) assure compliance of eligible entities with the 
        requirements of this title (other than the provisions of law 
        and regulations that are waived under subsection (d));
          ``(2) provide technical assistance;
          ``(3) monitor fluctuations in the student population enrolled 
        in the eligible entities carrying out the demonstration 
        projects under this section; and
          ``(4) consult with appropriate accrediting agencies or 
        associations and appropriate State regulatory authorities for 
        additional ways of improving the delivery of competency-based 
        education.
  ``(h) Definitions.--For the purpose of this section:
          ``(1) Competency-based education.--The term `competency-based 
        education' means an educational process or program that 
        measures knowledge, skills, and experience through assessments 
        of such knowledge, skills, or experience in place of or in 
        addition to the use of credit hours or clock hours.
          ``(2) Eligible entity.--The term `eligible entity' means--
                  ``(A) an institution of higher education;
                  ``(B) a system of institutions of higher education; 
                or
                  ``(C) a consortium of institutions of higher 
                education.
          ``(3) Institution of higher education.--The term `institution 
        of higher education' has the meaning given the term in section 
        102, except that such term does not include institutions 
        described in section 102(a)(1)(C).''.
  (b) Rule of Construction.--Nothing in this Act or the amendments made 
by this Act shall be construed to alter the authority of the Secretary 
of Education to establish experimental sites under any other provision 
of law.
  (c) Funding.--
          (1) Use of existing funds.--Of the amount authorized to be 
        appropriated for salaries and expenses of the Department of 
        Education, $1,000,000 shall be available to carry out this Act 
        and the amendments made by this Act.
          (2) No additional funds authorized.--No funds are authorized 
        to be appropriated by this Act to carry out this Act or the 
        amendments made by this Act.

                                Purpose

    H.R. 3136, the Advancing Competency-Based Education 
Demonstration Act of 2014, directs the secretary of education 
to select eligible entities to participate in demonstration 
projects receiving waivers from statutory and regulatory 
requirements that impede the delivery of competency-based 
education.

                            Committee Action

    As the Committee on Education and the Workforce begins the 
Higher Education Act reauthorization process, increasing 
transparency and usefulness of higher education data; 
simplifying and improving the federal student aid programs; and 
promoting innovation, access, and completion remain top 
priorities.

                             112TH CONGRESS

Hearings--First session

    On March 1, 2011, the Committee on Education and the 
Workforce held a hearing in Washington, D.C., on ``Education 
Regulations: Weighing the Burden on Schools and Students.'' The 
hearing was the first in a series examining the burden of 
federal, state, and local regulations on the nation's education 
system. The purpose of the hearing was to uncover the damaging 
effects of federal regulations on schools and institutions. 
These rules increasingly stifle growth and innovation, raise 
operating costs, and limit student access to affordable 
colleges and universities throughout the nation. Testifying 
before the committee were Dr. Edgar Hatrick, Superintendent, 
Loudon County Public Schools, Ashburn, Virginia; Ms. Kati 
Haycock, President, The Education Trust, Washington, D.C.; Mr. 
Gene Wilhoit, Executive Director, Council of Chief State School 
Officers, Washington, D.C.; and Mr. Christopher B. Nelson, 
President, St. John's College, Annapolis, Maryland.
    On March 11, 2011, the Committee on Education and the 
Workforce Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce 
Training held a hearing in Washington, D.C., on ``Education 
Regulations: Federal Overreach into Academic Affairs.'' The 
purpose of the hearing was to discuss the most egregious and 
intrusive pieces of the program integrity regulations issued by 
the U.S. Department of Education, specifically, the state 
authorization regulation and the credit hour regulation, and to 
uncover the unintended consequences of the regulations to 
states and institutions of higher education. Testifying before 
the subcommittee were Mr. John Ebersole, President, Excelsior 
College, Albany, New York; Dr. G. Blair Dowden, President, 
Huntington University, Huntington, Indiana; The Honorable 
Kathleen Tighe, Inspector General, U.S. Department of 
Education, Washington, D.C.; and Mr. Ralph Wolff, President, 
Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Alameda, 
California.
    On March 17, 2011, the Committee on Education and the 
Workforce held a hearing in Washington, D.C., on ``Education 
Regulations: Roadblocks to Student Choice in Higher 
Education.'' The purpose of the hearing was to explore the 
harmful consequences of the gainful employment regulation 
issued by the U.S. Department of Education. Testifying before 
the committee were Ms. Catherine Barreto, Graduate, Monroe 
College, and Senior Sales Associate, Doubletree Hotels, 
Brooklyn, New York; Mr. Travis Jennings, Electrical Supervisor 
of the Manufacturing Launch Systems Group, Orbital Sciences 
Corporation, Chandler, Arizona; Dr. Arnold Mitchem, President, 
Council for Opportunity in Education, Washington, D.C.; and Ms. 
Jeanne Herrmann, Chief Operating Officer, Globe University/
Minnesota School of Business, Woodbury, Minnesota.
    On March 21, 2011, the Committee on Education and the 
Workforce held a hearing in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, on 
``Reviving our Economy: The Role of Higher Education in Job 
Growth and Development.'' The purpose of the hearing was to 
highlight work by local colleges and universities to respond to 
local and state economic needs. Testifying before the committee 
were Mr. James Perry, President, Hazelton City Council, 
Hazelton, Pennsylvania; Mr. Jeffrey Alesson, Vice President of 
Strategic Planning and Quality Assurance, Diamond 
Manufacturing, Exeter, Pennsylvania; Dr. Reynold Verret, 
Provost, Wilkes University, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania; Mr. 
Raymond Angeli, President, Lackawanna College, Scranton, 
Pennsylvania; Ms. Joan Seaman, Executive Director, Empire 
Beauty School, Moosic, Pennsylvania; and Mr. Thomas P. Leary, 
President, Luzerne County Community College, Nanticoke, 
Pennsylvania.
    On March 22, 2011, the Committee on Education and the 
Workforce held a hearing in Utica, New York, on ``Reviving our 
Economy: The Role of Higher Education in Job Growth and 
Development.'' The purpose of the hearing was to highlight work 
by local colleges and universities to respond to local and 
state economic needs. Testifying before the committee were Mr. 
Anthony J. Picente, Jr., County Executive, Oneida County, 
Utica, New York; Mr. Dave Mathis, Director, Oneida County 
Workforce Development, Utica, New York; Dr. John Bay, Vice 
President and Chief Scientist, Assured Information Security, 
Inc., Rome, New York; Dr. Bjong Wolf Yeigh, President, State 
University of New York Institute of Technology, Utica, New 
York; Dr. Ann Marie Murray, President, Herkimer County 
Community College, Herkimer, New York; Dr. Judith Kirkpatrick, 
Provost, Utica College, Utica, New York; and Mr. Phil Williams, 
President, Utica School of Commerce, The Business College, 
Utica, New York.
    On April 21, 2011, the Committee on Education and the 
Workforce held a hearing in Columbia, Tennessee, on ``Reviving 
our Economy: The Role of Higher Education in Job Growth and 
Development.'' The purpose of the hearing was to highlight the 
work by local colleges and universities to respond to local and 
state economic needs. Testifying before the committee were Dr. 
Janet Smith, President, Columbia State Community College, 
Columbia, Tennessee; Dr. Ted Brown, President, Martin-Methodist 
College, Pulaski, Tennessee; Mr. Jim Coakley, President, 
Nashville Auto-Diesel College, Nashville, Tennessee; The 
Honorable Dean Dickey, Mayor, City of Columbia, Tennessee; Ms. 
Susan Marlow, President and Chief Executive Officer, Smart Data 
Strategies, Franklin, Tennessee; Ms. Jan McKeel, Executive 
Director, South Central Tennessee Workforce Board, Columbia, 
Tennessee; and Ms. Margaret Prater, Executive Director, 
Northwest Tennessee Workforce Board, Dyersburg, Tennessee.
    On July 8, 2011, the Committee on Education and the 
Workforce Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce 
Training, together with the House Committee on Oversight and 
Government Reform Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs, Stimulus 
Oversight, and Government Spending, held a hearing in 
Washington, D.C., on ``The Gainful Employment Regulation: 
Limiting Job Growth and Student Choice.'' The purpose of the 
hearing was to explore the harmful consequences of the gainful 
employment regulation issued by the U.S. Department of 
Education. Testifying before the subcommittees were Dr. Dario 
A. Cortes, President, Berkeley College, New York City, New 
York; Dr. Anthony P. Carnevale, Director, Georgetown University 
Center on Education and the Workforce, Washington, D.C.; Ms. 
Karla Carpenter, Graduate, Herzing University and Program 
Manager, Quest Software, Madison, Wisconsin; and Mr. Harry C. 
Alford, President and Chief Executive Officer, National Black 
Chamber of Commerce, Washington, D.C.
    On August 16, 2011, the Committee on Education and the 
Workforce Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce 
Training held a hearing in Greenville, South Carolina, on 
``Reviving Our Economy: The Role of Higher Education in Job 
Growth and Development.'' The purpose of the hearing was to 
highlight the work by local colleges and universities to 
respond to local and state economic needs. Testifying before 
the subcommittee were The Honorable Knox White, Mayor, City of 
Greenville, South Carolina; Mr. Werner Eikenbusch, Section 
Manager, Associate Development and Training, BMW Manufacturing 
Co., Spartanburg, South Carolina; Ms. Laura Harmon, Project 
Director, Greenville Works, Greenville, South Carolina; Dr. 
Brenda Thames, Vice President of Academic Development, 
Greenville Health System, Greenville, South Carolina; Mr. James 
F. Barker, President, Clemson University, Clemson, South 
Carolina; Dr. Thomas F. Moore, Chancellor, University of South 
Carolina Upstate, Spartanburg, South Carolina; Dr. Keith 
Miller, President, Greenville Technical College, Greenville, 
South Carolina; and Ms. Amy Hickman, Campus President, ECPI 
College of Technology, Greenville, South Carolina.
    On October 25, 2011, the Committee on Education and the 
Workforce Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce 
Training held a hearing in Washington, D.C., on ``Government-
Run Student Loans: Ensuring the Direct Loan Program is 
Accountable to Students and Taxpayers.'' The purpose of the 
hearing was to examine the switch to and implementation of the 
Direct Loan program. Testifying before the subcommittee were 
Mr. James W. Runcie, Chief Operating Officer, Office of Federal 
Student Aid, U.S. Department of Education, Washington, D.C.; 
Mr. Ron H. Day, Director of Financial Aid, Kennesaw State 
University, Kennesaw, Georgia; Ms. Nancy Hoover, Director of 
Financial Aid, Denison University, Granville, Ohio; and Mr. 
Mark. A. Bandre, Vice President for Enrollment Management and 
Student Affairs, Baker University, Baldwin City, Kansas.
    On November 30, 2011, the Committee on Education and the 
Workforce Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce 
Training held a hearing in Washington, D.C., on ``Keeping 
College Within Reach: Discussing Ways Institutions Can 
Streamline Costs and Reduce Tuition.'' The purpose of the 
hearing was to highlight innovative practices institutions of 
higher education are implementing to reduce their costs to 
limit tuition increases for students. Testifying before the 
subcommittee were Ms. Jane V. Wellman, Executive Director, 
Delta Project on Postsecondary Costs, Productivity, and 
Accountability, Washington, D.C.; Dr. Ronald E. Manahan, 
President, Grace College and Seminary, Winona Lake, Indiana; 
Mr. Jamie P. Merisotis, President and Chief Executive Officer, 
Lumina Foundation for Education, Indianapolis, Indiana; and Mr. 
Tim Foster, President, Colorado Mesa University, Grand 
Junction, Colorado.

Legislative action--First session

    On February 17, 2011, the House of Representatives 
considered an amendment offered by Chairman John Kline (R-MN), 
Higher Education and Workforce Training Subcommittee Chairwoman 
Virginia Foxx (R-NC), and Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL) to H.R. 1, 
the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013. The amendment 
prohibited the use of funds by the U.S. Department of Education 
to implement and enforce the gainful employment regulation. The 
amendment was agreed to by a bipartisan vote of 289 to 136.
    On February 19, 2011, the House of Representatives passed 
H.R. 1 by a vote of 235 to 189. The amendment was not included 
in the bill at final passage.
    On June 3, 2011, Chairman John Kline (R-MN) and Higher 
Education and Workforce Training Subcommittee Chairwoman 
Virginia Foxx (R-NC) introduced H.R. 2117, the Protecting 
Academic Freedom in Higher Education Act. The bill repealed the 
state authorization regulation, one piece of the credit hour 
regulation, and prohibited the secretary of education from 
defining credit hour for any purpose under the Higher Education 
Act of 1965.
    On June 15, 2011, the Committee on Education and the 
Workforce considered H.R. 2117 in legislative session and 
reported it favorably, as amended, to the House of 
Representatives by a bipartisan vote of 27 to 11.
    The committee considered and adopted the following 
amendment to H.R. 2117:
     Subcommittee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) 
offered an amendment in the nature of a substitute to add a 
short title to the legislation. The amendment was adopted by 
voice vote.
    The committee further considered the following amendments 
to H.R. 2117, which were not adopted:
     Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) offered an amendment to 
maintain pieces of the state authorization regulation, 
including the complaint process. The amendment failed by a vote 
of 17 to 22.
     Ranking Member George Miller (D-CA) offered an 
amendment to prohibit implementation until the U.S. Department 
of Education Inspector General certifies there are equal or 
greater protections in place related to program integrity under 
Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965. The amendment 
failed by a vote of 17 to 22.
     Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) offered an amendment to 
stipulate the act will be effective only if the maximum Pell 
Grant award is at least $5,550 for the 2012-2013 school year. 
The amendment was ruled out of order.
     Rep. Tim Bishop (D-NY) offered an amendment to 
strike the repeal of the credit hour regulation that 
establishes a federal definition of a ``credit hour.'' The 
amendment failed by a vote of 11 to 27.
     Rep. Tim Bishop (D-NY) offered an amendment to 
strike the prohibition on the secretary of education from 
defining credit hour in the future. The amendment failed by a 
vote of 16 to 22.

Hearings--Second session

    On July 18, 2012, the Committee on Education and the 
Workforce Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce 
Training held a hearing in Washington, D.C., on ``Keeping 
College Within Reach: Exploring State Efforts to Curb Costs.'' 
The purpose of the hearing was to highlight innovative 
practices at the state level to assist postsecondary 
institutions in keeping costs affordable and to promote 
accountability of public funds. Testifying before the 
subcommittee were Mr. Scott Pattison, Executive Director, 
National Association of State Budget Officers, Washington, 
D.C.; Ms. Teresa Lubbers, Commissioner for Higher Education, 
State of Indiana, Indianapolis, Indiana; Mr. Stan Jones, 
President, Complete College America, Zionsville, Indiana; and 
Dr. Joe May, President, Louisiana Community and Technical 
College System, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
    On September 20, 2012, the Committee on Education and the 
Workforce Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce 
Training held a hearing in Washington, D.C., on ``Assessing 
College Data: Helping to Provide Valuable Information to 
Students, Institutions, and Taxpayers.'' The purpose of the 
hearing was to examine data collected by the federal government 
from institutions of higher education, including data 
requirements established during the last reauthorization of the 
Higher Education Act. Testifying before the subcommittee were 
Dr. Mark Schneider, Vice President, American Institutes for 
Research, Washington, D.C.; Dr. James Hallmark, Vice Chancellor 
for Academic Affairs, Texas A&M System, College Station, Texas; 
Dr. Jose Cruz, Vice President for Higher Education Policy and 
Practice, The Education Trust, Washington, D.C.; and Dr. Tracy 
Fitzsimmons, President, Shenandoah University, Winchester, 
Virginia.

Legislative action--Second session

    On February 28, 2012, the House of Representatives passed 
H.R. 2117 by a bipartisan vote of 303 to 114. The bill was sent 
to the Senate and referred to the Senate Committee on Health, 
Education, Labor, and Pensions.
    On April 25, 2012, Rep. Judy Biggert (R-IL) introduced H.R. 
4628, the Interest Rate Reduction Act. The bill reduced the 
interest rate on subsidized Stafford loans made to 
undergraduate students from 6.8 percent to 3.4 percent for one 
year, from July 1, 2012, through June 30, 2013. To offset the 
increase in mandatory spending, the bill repealed the 
Prevention and Public Health Fund authorized under Section 4002 
of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and rescinded 
the balance of unobligated monies made available for the fund.
    On April 27, 2012, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 
4628 by a vote of 215 to 195.
    While H.R. 4628 was never considered by the Senate, its 
provisions were included in the Conference Report for H.R. 
4348, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act 
(MAP-21), sponsored by Rep. John Mica (R-FL). To partially 
offset the increase in mandatory spending that resulted from 
the temporary reduction in interest rates on subsidized 
Stafford loans, the bill permanently restricted the period of 
eligibility to borrow subsidized Stafford loans to 150 percent 
of the published length of a student's educational program.
    On June 29, 2012, the House of Representatives passed the 
Conference Report to H.R. 4348 by a bipartisan vote of 373 to 
52.
    On June 29, 2012, the Senate passed the Conference Report 
to H.R. 4348 by a bipartisan vote of 74 to 19.
    On July 6, 2012, the President of the United States signed 
H.R. 4348 into law (P.L. 112-141).

                             113TH CONGRESS

Hearings--First session

    On March 13, 2013, the Committee on Education and the 
Workforce held a hearing in Washington, D.C., on ``Keeping 
College Within Reach: Examining Opportunities to Strengthen 
Federal Student Loan Programs.'' The purpose of the hearing was 
to examine ways to strengthen federal student loans, as well as 
how moving to a market-based or variable interest rate on all 
federal student loans could benefit both students and 
taxpayers. Testifying before the committee were Dr. Deborah J. 
Lucas, Sloan Distinguished Professor of Finance, Massachusetts 
Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts; Mr. Jason 
Delisle, Director, Federal Education Budget Project, The New 
America Foundation, Washington, D.C.; Mr. Justin Draeger, 
President and Chief Executive Officer, National Association of 
Student Financial Aid Administrators, Washington, D.C.; and Dr. 
Charmaine Mercer, Vice President of Policy, Alliance for 
Excellent Education, Washington, D.C.
    On April 9, 2013, the Committee on Education and the 
Workforce Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce 
Training held a hearing in Monroe, Michigan, entitled 
``Reviving Our Economy: The Role of Higher Education in Job 
Growth and Development.'' The purpose of the hearing was to 
highlight work being done by local colleges and universities to 
respond to local and state economic needs. Testifying before 
the subcommittee were Mr. Henry Lievens, Commissioner, Monroe 
County, Monroe, Michigan; Ms. Lynette Dowler, Plant Director, 
Fossil Generation, DTE Energy, Detroit, Michigan; Ms. Susan 
Smith, Executive Director, Economic Development Partnership of 
Hillsdale County, Jonesville, Michigan; Mr. Dan Fairbanks, 
United Auto Workers International Representative, UAW-GM Skill 
Development and Training Department, Detroit, Michigan; Dr. 
David E. Nixon, President, Monroe County Community College, 
Monroe, Michigan; Sister Peg Albert, OP, Ph.D., President, 
Siena Heights University, Adrian, Michigan; Dr. Michelle 
Shields, Career Coach/Workforce Development Director, Jackson 
Community College, Jackson, Michigan; and Mr. Douglas A. Levy, 
Director of Financial Aid, Macomb Community College, Warren, 
Michigan.
    On April 16, 2013, the Committee on Education and the 
Workforce Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce 
Training held a hearing in Washington, D.C., entitled ``Keeping 
College Within Reach: The Role of Federal Student Aid 
Programs.'' The purpose of the hearing was to examine shifting 
the focus of federal student aid programs from enhancing access 
to improving student outcomes. Testifying before the 
subcommittee were Mr. Terry W. Hartle, Senior Vice President, 
Division of Government and Public Affairs, American Council on 
Education, Washington, D.C.; Ms. Moriah Miles, State Chair, 
Minnesota State University Student Association, Mankato, 
Minnesota; Ms. Patricia McGuire, President, Trinity Washington 
University, Washington, D.C.; and Mr. Dan Madzelan, Former 
Employee (Retired), U.S. Department of Education, University 
Park, Maryland.
    On April 24, 2013, the Committee on Education and the 
Workforce Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce held a 
hearing in Washington, D.C., entitled ``Keeping College Within 
Reach: Enhancing Transparency for Students, Families, and 
Taxpayers.'' The purpose of the hearing was to examine ways to 
improve the information provided by the federal government to 
inform students and families about their postsecondary 
education options. Testifying before the subcommittee were Dr. 
Donald E. Heller, Dean, College of Education, Michigan State 
University, East Lansing, Michigan; Mr. Alex Garrido, Student, 
Keiser University, Miami, Florida; Dr. Nicole Farmer Hurd, 
Founder and Executive Director, National College Advising 
Corps, Carrboro, North Carolina; and Mr. Travis Reindl, Program 
Director, Postsecondary Education, National Governors 
Association Center for Best Practices, Washington, D.C.
    On June 13, 2013, the Committee on Education and the 
Workforce Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce 
Training held a hearing in Washington, D.C., entitled ``Keeping 
College Within Reach: Discussing Program Quality through 
Accreditation.'' The purpose of the hearing was to examine the 
historical role of accreditation, discuss the role of regional 
and national accreditors in measuring institutional quality, 
and contemplate areas for reform. Testifying before the 
subcommittee were Dr. Elizabeth H. Sibolski, President, Middle 
States Commission on Higher Education, Philadelphia, 
Pennsylvania; Dr. Michale McComis, Executive Director, 
Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges, 
Arlington, Virginia; Ms. Anne D. Neal, President, American 
Council of Trustees and Alumni, Washington, D.C.; and Mr. Kevin 
Carey, Director of the Education Policy Program, The New 
America Foundation, Washington, D.C.
    On July 9, 2013, the Committee on Education and the 
Workforce held a hearing in Washington, D.C., entitled 
``Keeping College Within Reach: Improving Higher Education 
through Innovation.'' The purpose of the hearing was to 
highlight innovation in higher education occurring at the state 
and institutional level and in the private sector. Testifying 
before the committee were Mr. Scott Jenkins, Director of 
External Relations, Western Governors University, Salt Lake 
City, Utah; Dr. Pamela J. Tate, President and Chief Executive 
Officer, Council for Adult and Experiential Learning, Chicago, 
Illinois; Dr. Joann A. Boughman, Senior Vice Chancellor for 
Academic Affairs, University System of Maryland, Adelphi, 
Maryland; and Mr. Burck Smith, Chief Executive Officer and 
Founder, StraighterLine, Baltimore, Maryland.
    On September 11, 2013, the Committee on Education and the 
Workforce Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce 
Training held a hearing in Washington, D.C., entitled ``Keeping 
College Within Reach: Supporting Higher Education Opportunities 
for America's Servicemembers and Veterans.'' The purpose of the 
hearing was to examine the efforts of higher education to 
improve postsecondary education opportunities for 
servicemembers and veterans. Testifying before the subcommittee 
were Mrs. Kimrey W. Rhinehardt, Vice President for Federal and 
Military Affairs, The University of North Carolina, Chapel 
Hill, North Carolina; Dr. Arthur F. Kirk, Jr., President, Saint 
Leo University, Saint Leo, Florida; Dr. Russell S. Kitchner, 
Vice President for Regulatory and Governmental Relations, 
American Public University System, Charles Town, West Virginia; 
and Dr. Ken Sauer, Senior Associate Commissioner for Research 
and Academic Affairs, Indiana Commission for Higher Education, 
Indianapolis, Indiana.
    On September 18, 2013, the Committee on Education and the 
Workforce Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce 
Training held a hearing in Washington, D.C., entitled ``Keeping 
College Within Reach: Improving Access and Affordability 
through Innovative Partnerships.'' The purpose of the hearing 
was to examine the efforts of higher education institutions to 
expand access and reduce costs by partnering with local 
employers, other colleges, or online course providers. 
Testifying before the subcommittee were Dr. Jeffrey Docking, 
President, Adrian College, Adrian, Michigan; Ms. Paula R. 
Singer, President and Chief Executive Officer, Laureate Global 
Products and Services, Baltimore, Maryland; Dr. Rich Baraniuk, 
Professor, Rice University, and Founder, Connexions, Houston, 
Texas; and Dr. Charles Lee Isbell, Jr., Professor and Senior 
Associate Dean, College of Computing, Georgia Institute of 
Technology, Atlanta, Georgia.
    On November 13, 2013, the Committee on Education and the 
Workforce held a hearing in Washington, D.C., entitled 
``Keeping College Within Reach: Simplifying Federal Student 
Aid.'' The purpose of the hearing was to examine the need to 
streamline, consolidate, and simplify federal student aid 
programs. Testifying before the committee were Ms. Kristin D. 
Conklin, Founding Partner, HCM Strategies, LLC, Washington, 
D.C.; Dr. Sandy Baum, Research Professor of Education Policy, 
George Washington University Graduate School of Education and 
Human Development, and Senior Fellow, Urban Institute, 
Washington, D.C.; Ms. Jennifer Mishory, J.D., Deputy Director, 
Young Invincibles, Washington, D.C.; and Mr. Jason Delisle, 
Director, Federal Education Budget Project, New America 
Foundation, Washington, D.C.
    On December 3, 2013, the Committee on Education and the 
Workforce Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce 
Training held a hearing in Washington, D.C., entitled ``Keeping 
College Within Reach: Strengthening Pell Grants for Future 
Generations.'' The purpose of the hearing was to examine Pell 
Grant program reform proposals to better target funds to the 
neediest students and put the program on a fiscally responsible 
and sustainable path. Testifying before the subcommittee were 
Mr. Justin Draeger, President and Chief Executive Officer, 
National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, 
Washington, D.C.; Dr. Jenna Ashley Robinson, Director of 
Outreach, John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, 
Raleigh, North Carolina; Mr. Michael Dannenberg, Director of 
Higher Education and Education Finance Policy, The Education 
Trust, Washington, D.C.; and Mr. Richard C. Heath, Director of 
Student Financial Services, Anne Arundel Community College, 
Arnold, Maryland.

Legislative action--First session

    On May 9, 2013, Chairman John Kline (R-MN) and Higher 
Education and Workforce Training Subcommittee Chairwoman 
Virginia Foxx (R-NC) introduced H.R. 1911, the Smarter 
Solutions for Students Act. The bill moved all federal student 
loans (except Perkins loans) to a market-based interest rate.
    On May 16, 2013, the Committee on Education and the 
Workforce considered H.R. 1911 in legislative session and 
reported it favorably, as amended, to the House of 
Representatives by a bipartisan vote of 24 to 13.
    The committee considered and adopted the following 
amendment to H.R. 1911:
     Subcommittee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) 
offered an amendment in the nature of a substitute to make a 
technical change to the bill. The amendment was adopted by 
voice vote.
    The committee further considered the following amendments 
to H.R. 1911, which were not adopted:
     Rep. Joe Heck (R-NV) offered an amendment to 
allocate a portion of the savings generated under the bill to 
Pell Grants. The amendment was withdrawn.
     Rep. Joe Heck (R-NV) offered an amendment to 
provide the secretary of education with authority to reduce the 
interest rate on student loans if a borrower makes the first 48 
payments on time. The amendment was withdrawn.
     Rep. John Tierney (D-MA) offered an amendment to 
set the federal student loan interest rates at the same rate 
the Federal Reserve charges to banks for two years. The 
amendment failed by a vote of 14 to 23.
     Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT) offered an amendment to 
extend the 3.4 percent interest rate on subsidized Stafford 
loans for two years. The amendment failed by a vote of 15 to 
21.
    On May 23, 2013, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 
1911 by a bipartisan vote of 221 to 198.
    On July 24, 2013, the Senate passed a substitute version of 
H.R. 1911, the Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act, by a 
bipartisan vote of 81 to 18. The legislation allowed student 
loan interest rates to reset once a year by the market, but 
lock into a fixed rate once the loan is disbursed to the 
student. Interest rates would be set using the following 
formulas:
     Undergraduate Stafford loans (subsidized and 
unsubsidized): 10-year Treasury Note plus 2.05 percent, capped 
at 8.25 percent.
     Graduate Stafford loans: 10-year Treasury Note 
plus 3.6 percent, capped at 9.5 percent
     PLUS loans (graduate and parent): 10-year Treasury 
Note plus 4.6 percent, capped at 10.5 percent.
    On July 31, 2013, the House of Representatives agreed to 
suspend the rules and agree to the Senate amendment to H.R. 
1911 by a bipartisan vote of 392 to 31.
    On August 9, 2013, the President of the United States 
signed H.R. 1911 into law (P.L. 113-28).
    On May 13, 2013, Rep. Luke Messer (R-IN) introduced H.R. 
1949, the Improving Postsecondary Education Data for Students 
Act. The bill directed the secretary of education to convene an 
Advisory Committee on Improving Postsecondary Education Data to 
conduct a study on the factors students and families want, 
need, and already consider when choosing a higher education 
institution.
    On May 16, 2013, the Committee on Education and the 
Workforce considered H.R. 1949 in legislative session and 
reported it favorably, as amended, to the House of 
Representatives by a voice vote. The committee considered and 
adopted the following amendment to H.R. 1949:
     Rep. Luke Messer (R-IN) offered an amendment in 
the nature of a substitute to H.R. 1949 to (1) include 
individuals who represent undergraduate and graduate education; 
college and career counselors at secondary schools; experts in 
data policy, collection, and use; and experts in labor markets 
on the list of individuals required to be represented on the 
Advisory Committee on Improving Postsecondary Education Data; 
(2) ensure individuals on the advisory committee represent 
economic, racial, and geographically diverse populations; (3) 
require the advisory committee to examine information related 
to the sources of financial assistance, including federal 
student loans, as part of the required aspects of the study; 
(4) require the advisory committee to examine how information 
regarding student outcomes should be disaggregated for first-
generation students; and (5) provide other conforming and 
technical changes to the bill. The amendment was adopted by 
voice vote.
    On May 23, 2013, the House of Representatives agreed to 
suspend the rules and pass H.R. 1949 by voice vote. The bill 
was sent to the Senate and referred to the Senate Committee on 
Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.
    On July 10, 2013, Chairman John Kline (R-MN), Higher 
Education and Workforce Training Subcommittee Chairwoman 
Virginia Foxx (R-NC), and Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL) introduced 
H.R. 2637, the Supporting Academic Freedom through Regulatory 
Relief Act. The bill, which included the text of the Protecting 
Academic Freedom in Higher Education Act (H.R. 2117) and the 
Kline/Foxx/Hastings amendment to H.R. 1 from the 112th 
Congress, repealed the credit hour, state authorization, and 
gainful employment regulations and amended the statute to 
clarify the incentive compensation regulation. Additionally, 
the bill prohibited the U.S. Department of Education from 
issuing related regulations until after Congress reauthorizes 
the Higher Education Act.
    On July 24, 2013, the Committee on Education and the 
Workforce considered H.R. 2637 in legislative session and 
reported it favorably, as amended, to the House of 
Representatives by a bipartisan vote of 22 to 13.
    The committee considered and adopted the following 
amendment to H.R. 2637:
     Subcommittee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) 
offered an amendment in the nature of a substitute to change a 
subsection title in the legislation. The amendment was adopted 
by voice vote.
    The committee further considered the following amendment to 
H.R. 2637, which was not adopted:
     Rep. Tim Bishop (D-NY) offered an amendment to 
strike the prohibition on the U.S. Department of Education from 
issuing regulations related to state authorization, gainful 
employment, and credit hour. The amendment failed by a vote of 
13 to 22.

Hearings--Second session

    On January 28, 2014, the Committee on Education and the 
Workforce Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce 
Training held a hearing in Washington, D.C., entitled ``Keeping 
College Within Reach: Sharing Best Practices for Serving Low-
Income and First Generation Students.'' The purpose of the 
hearing was to highlight best practices at institutions of 
higher education for serving low-income and first generation 
students. Testifying before the subcommittee were Dr. James 
Anderson, Chancellor, Fayetteville State University, 
Fayetteville, North Carolina; Mrs. Mary Beth Del Balzo, Senior 
Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer, The 
College of Westchester, White Plains, New York; Mr. Josse Alex 
Garrido, Graduate Student, University of Texas--Pan American, 
Edinburg, Texas; and Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, President, 
DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois.
    On February 27, 2013, the Committee on Education and the 
Workforce Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and 
Secondary Education and Subcommittee on Higher Education and 
Workforce Training held a joint hearing in Washington, D.C., 
entitled ``Exploring Efforts to Strengthen the Teaching 
Profession.'' The purpose of the hearing was to discuss the 
state of teacher preparation nationwide. Testifying before the 
subcommittees were Dr. Deborah A. Gist, Commissioner, Rhode 
Island Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, 
Providence, Rhode Island; Dr. Marcy Singer-Gabella, Professor 
of the Practice of Education, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, 
Tennessee; Dr. Heather Peske, Associate Commissioner for 
Educator Quality, Massachusetts Department of Elementary and 
Secondary Education, Malden, Massachusetts; and Ms. Christina 
Hall, Co-Founder and Co-Director, Urban Teacher Center, 
Baltimore, Maryland.
    On March 12, 2014, the Committee on Education and the 
Workforce Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce 
Training held a hearing in Washington, D.C., entitled 
``Examining the Mismanagement of the Student Loan 
Rehabilitation Process.'' The purpose of the hearing was to 
examine the U.S. Department of Education's ability to oversee 
the processing of rehabilitated loans issued under the Direct 
Loan program. Testifying before the subcommittee were Ms. 
Melissa Emrey-Arras, Director of Education, Workforce, and 
Income Security Issues, U.S. Government Accountability Office, 
Boston, Massachusetts; The Honorable Kathleen Tighe, Inspector 
General, Department of Education, Washington, D.C.; Mr. James 
Runcie, Chief Operating Officer, Federal Student Aid, U.S. 
Department of Education, Washington, D.C.; and Ms. Peg Julius, 
Executive Director of Enrollment Management, Kirkwood Community 
College, Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
    On March 20, 2014, the Committee on Education and the 
Workforce held a hearing in Mesa, Arizona, entitled ``Reviving 
our Economy: Supporting a 21st Century Workforce.'' The purpose 
of the hearing was to explore the role of local higher 
education institutions in fostering job creation and growth 
through innovative partnerships with the business community and 
new modes of teaching delivery. Testifying before the committee 
were The Honorable Rick Heumann, Vice Mayor, City of Chandler, 
Arizona; Ms. Cathleen Barton, Education Manager, Intel 
Corporate Affairs, Southwestern United States, Intel 
Corporation, Chandler, Arizona; Mr. Lee D. Lambert, J.D., 
Chancellor, Pima Community College, Tucson, Arizona; Dr. 
William Pepicello, President, University of Phoenix, Tempe, 
Arizona; Dr. Michael Crow, President, Arizona State University, 
Tempe, Arizona; Dr. Ann Weaver Hart, President, The University 
of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona; Dr. Ernest A. Lara, President, 
Estrella Mountain Community College, Avondale, Arizona; and Ms. 
Christy Farley, Vice President of Government Affairs and 
Business Partnerships, Northern Arizona University, Phoenix, 
Arizona.
    On April 2, 2014, the Committee on Education and the 
Workforce held a hearing in Washington, D.C., entitled 
``Keeping College Within Reach: Meeting the Needs of 
Contemporary Students.'' The purpose of the hearing was to 
examine how institutions, states, and other entities assist 
contemporary college students in accessing and completing 
postsecondary education. Testifying before the committee were 
Dr. George A. Pruitt, President, Thomas Edison State College, 
Trenton, New Jersey; Dr. Kevin Gilligan, Chairman and Chief 
Executive Officer, Capella Education Company, Minneapolis, 
Minnesota; Mr. David Moldoff, Chief Executive Officer and 
Founder, AcademyOne, Inc., West Chester, Pennsylvania; Dr. 
Joann A. Boughman, Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, 
University System of Maryland, Adelphi, Maryland; Mr. Stan 
Jones, President, Complete College America, Indianapolis, 
Indiana; and Dr. Brooks A. Keel, President, Georgia Southern 
University, Statesboro, Georgia.

Legislative action--Second session

    On September 19, 2013, Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ), Rep. Susan 
Brooks (R-IN), and Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) introduced H.R. 
3136, the Advancing Competency-Based Education Demonstration 
Project Act of 2013. The bill directs the secretary of 
education to select institutions or consortia of institutions 
for voluntary participation in competency-based education 
demonstration projects that provide participating entities with 
the ability to offer competency-based education programs that 
do not meet certain statutory and regulatory requirements which 
would otherwise prevent them from participating in federal 
student aid programs.
    On July 10, 2014, the Committee on Education and the 
Workforce considered H.R. 3136 in legislative session and 
reported it favorably, as amended, to the House of 
Representatives by a voice vote. The committee considered and 
adopted the following amendment to H.R. 3136:
     Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ) and Rep. Jared Polis (D-
CO) offered an amendment in the nature of a substitute to add 
certain requirements to the applications to participate in a 
competency-based education project, allow eligible entities to 
submit amendments to their previously-approved applications, 
set requirements for the entities the secretary must choose to 
participate in the programs, require institutions to provide 
student information to the director of the Institute of 
Education Sciences (IES), require the director of IES to 
annually evaluate each project and provide a report with 
specified information to the authorizing committees, authorize 
funds to be available from the amount appropriated for salaries 
and expenses of the Department of Education, and make 
conforming and technical changes to the introduced bill. The 
amendment was adopted by voice vote.
    The committee further considered the following amendment to 
H.R. 2637, which was not adopted:
     Rep. Tierney (D-MA) offered an amendment that 
would allow students with federal student loans and private 
student loans issued prior to 2013 to refinance those loans 
into new federal loans at the interest rate set for the 2013-
2014 academic year. The amendment was ruled non-germane. Rep. 
George Miller (D-CA) appealed the ruling of the chair. Rep. 
Glenn Thompson (R-PA) offered a motion to table the appeal of 
the ruling of the chair, which was adopted by a vote of 22 to 
16.
    On June 26, 2014, Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and Rep. Luke 
Messer (R-IN) introduced H.R. 4983, the Strengthening 
Transparency in Higher Education Act. The bill simplifies and 
streamlines the information made publicly available by the 
Secretary of Education regarding institutions of higher 
education.
    On July 10, 2014, the Committee on Education and the 
Workforce considered H.R. 4983 in legislative session and 
reported it favorably, as amended, to the House of 
Representatives by a voice vote. The committee considered and 
adopted the following amendment to H.R. 4983:
     Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) offered an amendment in 
the nature of a substitute to require additional information on 
the College Dashboard, require the secretary of education to 
conduct consumer testing in consultation with appropriate 
federal departments and agencies, ensure consumer testing 
addresses whether the College Dashboard provides useful and 
relevant information to students and families, require the 
secretary of education to submit to the authorizing committees 
recommendations based on the results of consumer testing, set 
new minimum requirements for net price calculators, require 
funding to come from funds already appropriated to maintain the 
College Navigator, and make other conforming and technical 
changes. The amendment was adopted by voice vote.
    The committee further considered the following amendment to 
H.R. 4983, which was not adopted:
     Rep. George Miller (D-CA) offered an amendment 
that would require the commissioner of education statistics to 
establish a formula for determining the percentage of student 
borrowers who have completed their course of study and who are 
in repayment or in an authorized deferment period at three, 
five and 10 years after completion of a program of study. The 
amendment failed by a vote of 13 to 21.
    On June 26, 2014, Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY) and Rep. 
Richard Hudson (R-NC) introduced H.R. 4984, the Empowering 
Students through Enhanced Financial Counseling Act. The bill 
amends the loan counseling requirements under the Higher 
Education Act and requires counseling for Federal Pell Grant 
recipients.
    On July 10, 2014, the Committee on Education and the 
Workforce considered H.R. 4984 in legislative session and 
reported it favorably, as amended, to the House of 
Representatives by voice vote. The committee considered and 
adopted the following amendment to H.R. 4984:
     Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY) and Rep. Suzanne 
Bonamici (D-OR) offered an amendment in the nature of a 
substitute to remove the requirement that annual counseling for 
Pell Grant recipients be tied to disbursement of the grant, 
require additional information be disclosed to borrowers during 
annual counseling and exit counseling sessions, require 
institutions to provide annual counseling to borrowers 
receiving Parent PLUS loans, require any funds used to carry 
out the act to come from funds already appropriated to maintain 
the Financial Awareness Counseling Tool, and make conforming 
and technical changes. The amendment was adopted by voice vote.
    The committee further considered the following amendment to 
H.R. 4984, which was not adopted:
     Rep. Susan Davis (D-CA) offered an amendment to 
modify the rule requiring for-profit colleges to receive at 
least 10 percent of their revenue from sources other than the 
Department of Education to remain eligible for federal student 
aid to include all federal aid, including veterans' educational 
benefits and some Workforce Investment Act funds, in the 90 
percent portion of the calculation and only private funds in 
the 10 percent portion of the calculation. The amendment was 
ruled non-germane. Rep. George Miller (D-CA) appealed the 
ruling of the chair. Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-PA) offered a 
motion to table the appeal of the ruling of the chair, which 
was adopted by a vote of 20 to 13.

                                Summary

    The Advancing Competency-Based Education Demonstration 
Project Act would direct the secretary of education to select 
up to 20 eligible entities to voluntarily carry out competency-
based education demonstration projects receiving statutory and 
regulatory waivers in order to identify ways to reduce the time 
it takes to earn a college degree and reduce college costs.

Application

    Eligible entities, including institutions of higher 
education or consortiums of institutions, wishing to carry out 
a demonstration project must submit an application to the 
secretary of education that includes, but is not limited to, 
descriptions of the competency-based education to be offered; 
how the demonstration project would be implemented financially 
and logistically; how student advancement through competencies 
would differ from standard credit hour approaches; and how the 
project would develop and evaluate the competencies and 
assessments administered, including how such competencies and 
assessments are aligned with workforce needs. Further, the 
applications would include a description of the students to 
whom competency-based education would be offered and a 
description of the proposal for determining and awarding 
students' financial aid. Finally, the application would include 
a description of the specific statutory and regulatory 
requirements for which the applicant is seeking a waiver, as 
well as the reasons for seeking such waiver.

Selection, waivers granted, and notification

    The secretary of education is required to select no more 
than 20 eligible entities to carry out competency-based 
education demonstration projects. Eligible entities are 
permitted to submit multiple applications for multiple projects 
for which they are seeking approval. In selecting entities, the 
secretary of education must prioritize projects that show 
promise in reducing the time required to obtain a degree or in 
reducing college costs. The secretary of education also must 
consider the number and quality of applications received and an 
eligible entity's ability to successfully execute a competency-
based project, commitment and ability to effectively finance a 
project, and commitment to work with the secretary of education 
to evaluate the project and its impact. The secretary cannot 
select an eligible entity where more than 50 percent of the 
students take out loans and the entity has had a cohort default 
rate of 30 percent or greater in one of the two preceding 
years. Finally, the secretary of education must ensure the 
selection of a diverse group of institutions or consortia and 
cannot limit the courses of study approved for participation in 
a project.
    The legislation would allow the secretary of education to 
waive the statutory or regulatory requirements listed on the 
application. These waivers may address certain requirements in 
the Higher Education Act and Title 34 of the Code of Federal 
Regulations, and any regulations promulgated under such 
provisions, that inhibit the operation of competency-based 
education.
    The secretary of education is required to make available to 
the public, and separately to the authorizing committees of the 
House of Representatives and the Senate, a list of selected 
institutions and consortia, the statutory and regulatory 
requirements being waived, and a description of the courses 
being offered under the project.

Information and evaluation

    Each institution or consortium that carries out a 
demonstration project would be required to provide to the 
director of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) 
information including, but not limited to, the average number 
of credit hours students earned prior to enrollment in the 
project; the number and percentage of students participating in 
the competency-based education project who are also enrolled in 
credit or clock hour courses; the average period of time 
between admission to the project and the first assessment, as 
well as other markers of progression. Entities also must 
provide other indicators of student success, including, but not 
limited to, course completion rates and success rates on 
administered assessments. This reported information must be 
disaggregated by age, race, gender, disability status, and 
status as a recipient of a Pell grant, provided the 
disaggregation does not identify individual students.
    The legislation would require the director of IES, in 
consultation with the secretary of education, to evaluate 
annually each demonstration project to determine the extent to 
which the eligible entity has met the goals set forth in its 
application. Evaluations must include the number and types of 
students participating in competency-based education, the 
progress of participating students towards degrees and other 
indicators of success, obstacles related to student financial 
assistance, and the extent to which remaining statutory and 
regulatory requirements present difficulties for students or 
institutions of higher education.
    The director of IES would be required to provide annually 
to the authorizing committees of the House of Representatives 
and the Senate a report on the evaluations of the demonstration 
projects, the number and types of students receiving 
assistance, and the retention and completion rates of 
participating students. The reports also must include any 
proposed statutory or regulatory changes designed to support 
and enhance the expansion of competency-based education, the 
most effective means of delivering competency-based education, 
and the appropriate level and distribution methodology of 
federal assistance. The secretary of education is also tasked 
with conducting oversight of the demonstration projects on a 
continuing basis.

                            Committee Views


Introduction

    Federal, state, and local budgetary challenges, as well as 
skyrocketing college costs, have encouraged institutions of 
higher education and students to seek low-cost alternatives to 
the traditional higher education model. Different modes of 
teaching delivery, such as competency-based education, may help 
students learn and graduate more quickly. These innovations in 
higher education could benefit both traditional students as 
well as the growing population of contemporary students.
    Traditionally, regulators and institutions of higher 
education used ``credit hours'' to measure student progress. 
This was an understandable metric when technological and 
physical limitations meant ``seat time'' was the best proxy for 
learning. Today, however, many experts question the value of 
measuring time rather than actual learning gains. Competency-
based models of education reverse the traditional learning 
equation, holding learning constant and allowing time to vary. 
Such programs define a collection of competencies or skills for 
a given field of study; create assessments; and provide 
students with course materials, instructional mentors, tutors, 
and proctored exams aligned with the competencies.
    Federal student aid programs have not kept pace with 
advances in technology or the latest models of education. While 
some institutions of higher education are pursuing competency-
based education programs, current statutory and regulatory 
requirements could be updated to enhance innovation, allowing 
for deeper experimentation with competency-based education. 
Most notably, federal student aid is disbursed based on the 
traditional ``credit hour'' calculation, which does not 
translate to the competency-based education model.

Encouraging institutions to reduce college costs

    The cost of attending college has risen dramatically over 
the past decade. Between the 2003-2004 and 2013-2014 academic 
years, in-state tuition and fees at public four-year colleges 
and universities have increased by approximately 51 percent. 
During the same period, tuition and fees at public two-year 
institutions and private four-year colleges and universities 
also have increased by approximately 35 percent and 25 percent, 
respectively. In the last year alone, the annual cost of 
attending the average private, non-profit institution rose to 
more than $30,000.\1\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\Trends in College Pricing, The CollegeBoard, 2013, p. 10, 
available at http://trends.collegeboard.org/sites/default/files/
college-pricing-2013-full-report-140108.pdf.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The federal government now disburses over $130 billion in 
federal student financial assistance each year, which should 
incentivize the creation of federal laws that encourage 
innovation to realize lower college costs. During a July 9, 
2013, hearing entitled ``Keeping College Within Reach: 
Improving Higher Education through Innovation,'' the Committee 
on Education and the Workforce examined what may prevent 
institutions from providing less costly degrees. Mr. Burck 
Smith, chief executive officer and founder of StraighterLine, 
said:

          Despite massive investments in technology, higher 
        education prices are rising and quality is declining. 
        In every other industry, technology investments yield 
        cost savings which translate to lower prices and higher 
        quality--productivity increases. Why not in higher 
        education? My conclusion was, and is, that the problem 
        is an outdated regulatory structure.\2\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \2\http://edworkforce.house.gov/calendar/
eventsingle.aspx?EventID=341174.

The current statutory and regulatory system must be updated to 
ensure colleges can pursue low-cost delivery models.

Creating competency-based education demonstration projects

    To allow for experimentation across the nation's college 
campuses and move beyond the antiquated federal student aid 
disbursement structure, Reps. Matt Salmon (R-AZ), Susan Brooks 
(R-IN), and Jared Polis (D-CO) introduced H.R. 3136, the 
Advancing Competency-Based Education Demonstration Project Act.
    H.R. 3136 would direct the secretary of education to 
support competency-based education demonstration projects to 
serve as incubators of innovation for institutions pursuing 
this delivery model. H.R. 3136 would authorize the secretary of 
education to administer statutory and regulatory waivers 
allowing participating entities to distribute federal financial 
aid in ways that do not conform to traditional credit or clock 
hour disbursement.
    Individual institutions of higher education or consortiums 
of institutions wishing to carry out a demonstration project 
must submit an application to the secretary of education. The 
eligible entities' applications must include, but are not 
limited to, a description of how a demonstration project would 
be implemented financially and logistically; how the student 
advancement through competencies would differ from traditional 
credit hour approaches; and how the project would develop and 
evaluate the competencies and assessments administered, 
including how such competencies and assessments are aligned 
with workforce needs.
    Existing competency-based education programs are tailored 
to help adult learners progress through their course of study 
quickly and re-enter the workforce equipped with in-demand 
skills. At the July 9, 2013, hearing, the Committee on 
Education and the Workforce explored aligning competencies with 
workforce needs. Mr. Scott Jenkins, director of external 
relations for Western Governors University (WGU)--a prominent 
provider of competency-based education--explained the 
importance of workforce alignment for their students:

          Required competencies for each degree program are 
        defined in collaboration with external program councils 
        that are composed of representatives from industry and 
        higher education. By working with these councils, we 
        ensure that our students graduate with the knowledge 
        and skills employers need.\3\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \3\Ibid.

    Additionally, H.R. 3136 would require the participant's 
application to include a description of the specific statutory 
and regulatory requirements for which the institution or 
consortium is seeking a waiver and the reasoning for seeking 
each waiver. Even though WGU has provided competency-based 
education since their launch in 1997, they have not been able 
to disburse federal student aid to their students based on 
competencies. Instead, WGU developed a complicated method for 
converting competencies into credit hour units, which hampers 
their students' ability to progress at their own pace. At the 
July 9, 2013, hearing, Mr. Jenkins urged Congress to create an 
environment where institutions can explore new ways of 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
delivering aid:

          Specifically, I recommend that Congress support 
        legislation creating a ``Demonstration Project'' for 
        competency-based education, similar to the 1998 
        demonstration project for distance learning. This 
        project would allow, on a selected basis, waivers of 
        current financial aid statutes and rules that would 
        allow innovative colleges and universities to explore 
        ways of delivering education, measuring quality, and 
        disbursing financial aid based on learning, rather than 
        time. This project could also help determine the 
        specific statutory and regulatory requirements which 
        should be altered to encourage the development of high 
        quality, competency-based degree programs.\4\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \4\Ibid.

    Capella University, another leader in competency-based 
education, echoed Mr. Jenkins's opinion. At an April 2, 2014, 
Committee on Education and the Workforce hearing entitled 
``Keeping College Within Reach: Meeting the Needs of 
Contemporary Students,'' Mr. Kevin Gilligan, chairman and chief 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
executive officer of Capella Education Company, said:

          Adhering to a traditional credit hour model as an 
        indirect indication of learning presents a potential 
        barrier to educational access and attainment, as course 
        participation and the constraints of the credit hour 
        requirements are often not tailored to the self-paced 
        learning needs of the adult student . . . Decisions 
        about how best to transform federal student financial 
        aid requirements must include safe space for schools to 
        innovate and evaluate what may work best for this non-
        traditional population. This includes supporting the 
        development of a congressionally sponsored 
        demonstration project mentioned above--[H.R.] 3136, the 
        Advancing Competency-Based Education Demonstration 
        Project Act.\5\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \5\http://edworkforce.house.gov/calendar/
eventsingle.aspx?EventID=374799.

    H.R. 3136 would direct the secretary of education to select 
up to 20 eligible entities that have the most promising 
application according to specific criteria. The criteria would 
prioritize projects that show promise in reducing the time 
required to obtain a degree or in reducing college costs, the 
commitment and ability to effectively finance a competency-
based education demonstration project, and represent a diverse 
group of eligible entities with respect to size, mission, and 
geographic distribution. The committee intends for the 
secretary of education to include a variety of institutions, 
including those from both the non-profit and for-profit sector, 
to ensure diversity. The secretary cannot select an eligible 
entity where more than 50 percent of the students take out 
loans and the entity has had a cohort default rate of 30 
percent or greater in one of the two preceding years. These 
selection criteria would ensure the highest integrity in the 
demonstration projects and promote successful experimentation 
with ways to more effectively deliver financial aid to students 
participating in innovative programs.

Evaluating projects to promote success and accountability

    In addition to supporting innovation, it is important to 
ensure accountability to the taxpayer. H.R. 3136 would require 
participating institutions and consortiums to deliver key 
evaluative information to the director of the IES. In exchange 
for the waiver provided by the secretary of education, 
institutions and consortiums must report information including, 
but not limited to, the number of students participating in the 
competency-based education projects that are also enrolled in 
credit or clock hour programs; the average periods of time 
between the students' initial enrollment to several important 
markers of progression, including completion of the project; 
and students' success rates on administered assessments. H.R. 
3136 would require the information reported be disaggregated by 
age, race, gender, disability status, and status as a recipient 
of a Pell Grant, provided the disaggregation does not identify 
any individual student participating in the projects.
    H.R. 3136 would require the director of IES, in 
consultation with the secretary of education, to rigorously 
evaluate each demonstration project annually to ensure 
participating institutions and consortiums are meeting the 
goals stated in their application. Additionally, the director 
of IES would be tasked with determining the extent to which 
statutory and regulatory requirements not waived by the 
secretary of education are creating federal roadblocks for 
institutions pursuing innovative delivery models of higher 
education.
    At a March 20, 2014, field hearing in Mesa, Arizona, 
entitled ``Reviving the Economy: Supporting a 21st Century 
Workforce,'' the Committee on Education and the Workforce 
examined the value and policy implications of rigorous 
evaluations of demonstration projects. Ms. Christy Farley, vice 
president of government affairs and business partnerships at 
Northern Arizona University, said, ``I think that with adequate 
accountability measures, [demonstration projects] certainly 
offer an opportunity for innovation to occur more quickly for 
us to gather data on that and then to provide demonstration of 
success.''\6\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \6\http://edworkforce.house.gov/calendar/
eventsingle.aspx?EventID=373197.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    H.R. 3136 would require the director of IES to deliver an 
annual report to Congress based on the findings of the thorough 
evaluations. The reports would help Congress identify 
additional statutory and regulatory requirements impeding more 
flexible disbursement of federal student aid, while also 
providing insight into what techniques and delivery methods are 
the most effective in competency-based education. Based on this 
information, Congress would be able to craft policies that 
allow for scalability of competency-based education that helps 
learners of all ages attain a less-costly higher education.

Conclusion

    The Advancing Competency-Based Education Demonstration 
Project Act would take an important step toward promoting 
innovation and encouraging lower-cost higher education for 
millions of Americans. By removing the traditional federal 
student aid constraints in a controlled test environment, H.R. 
3136 would allow institutions to experiment with and 
policymakers to accurately assess what practices are most 
effective. This legislation would serve as an important 
starting point as the Committee on Education and the Workforce 
continues its structured approach to reauthorizing the Higher 
Education Act of 1965.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis


Section 1. Short title

    States the short title is the Advancing Competency-Based 
Education Demonstration Project Act of 2014.

Section 2. Competency-based education demonstration projects

    Requires eligible entities wishing to voluntarily carry out 
a demonstration project to submit an application to the 
secretary of education for approval, including specific 
evaluation criteria.
    Authorizes the secretary of education to select up to 20 
eligible entities from the applicant pool to carry out 
competency-based education demonstration projects and to waive 
for such entities requirements that inhibit the operation of 
competency-based education.
    Requires each entity that carries out a demonstration 
project under this section to provide information with respect 
to the students participating in the competency-based education 
project to the director of the IES.
    Requires the director of the IES, in consultation with the 
secretary of education of education, to evaluate annually each 
demonstration project under this section to assess whether the 
eligible entity has met the goals set forth in its application; 
the progress of participating students toward degrees; 
obstacles related to student financial assistance and program 
costs; and the extent to which remaining statutory or 
regulatory requirements present difficulties for students or 
institutions.
    Requires the director of IES to provide annually a report 
to Congress on the results of the evaluations, information on 
the types of students participating in the projects, retention 
and completion rates, and any proposed statutory or regulatory 
changes designed to support and enhance the expansion of 
competency-based education.
    Requires the secretary of education, on a continuing basis, 
to oversee compliance of the eligible entities with the 
requirements of this title, provide technical assistance, and 
consult with the appropriate accrediting agencies.
    Specifies that nothing in this act shall be construed to 
alter the authority of the secretary of education to establish 
experimental sites under any other provision of the law.
    Authorizes $1,000,000 to be used from the existing 
authorization for salaries and expenses of the Department of 
Education to carry out this act. No additional funds are 
authorized to be appropriated by this act.

                       Explanation of Amendments

    The amendments, including the amendment in the nature of a 
substitute, are explained in the body of this report.

              Application of Law to the Legislative Branch

    Section 102(b)(3) of Public Law 104-1 requires a 
description of the application of this bill to the legislative 
branch. H.R. 3136 directs the secretary of education to select 
eligible entities to participate in demonstration projects 
receiving waivers from statutory and regulatory requirements 
that impede the delivery of competency-based education.

                       Unfunded Mandate Statement

    Section 423 of the Congressional Budget and Impoundment 
Control Act (as amended by Section 101(a)(2) of the Unfunded 
Mandates Reform Act, P.L. 104-4) requires a statement of 
whether the provisions of the reported bill include unfunded 
mandates. This issue is addressed in the CBO letter.

                           Earmark Statement

    H.R. 3136 does not contain any congressional earmarks, 
limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined in 
clause 9 of House Rule XXI.

                            Roll Call Votes

    Clause 3(b) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives requires the Committee Report to include for 
each record vote on a motion to report the measure or matter 
and on any amendments offered to the measure or matter the 
total number of votes for and against and the names of the 
Members voting for and against.


         Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives

    In accordance with clause (3)(c) of House Rule XIII, the 
goal of H.R. 3136 is to authorize the secretary of education to 
select eligible entities to participate in demonstration 
projects receiving waivers from statutory and regulatory 
requirements that impede the delivery of competency-based 
education. The committee expects the U.S. Department of 
Education to comply with these provisions and implement the law 
in accordance with the stated goal.

                    Duplication of Federal Programs

    No provision of H.R. 3136 establishes or reauthorizes a 
program of the Federal Government known to be duplicative of 
another Federal program, a program that was included in any 
report from the Government Accountability Office to Congress 
pursuant to section 21 of Public Law 111-139, or a program 
related to a program identified in the most recent Catalog of 
Federal Domestic Assistance.

                  Disclosure of Directed Rule Makings

    The committee estimates that enacting H.R. 3136 does not 
specifically direct the completion of any specific rule makings 
within the meaning of 5 U.S.C. 551.

  Statement of Oversight Findings and Recommendations of the Committee

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII and clause 
2(b)(1) of rule X of the Rules of the House of Representatives, 
the committee's oversight findings and recommendations are 
reflected in the body of this report.

               New Budget Authority and CBO Cost Estimate

    With respect to the requirements of clause 3(c)(2) of rule 
XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and section 
308(a) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 and with respect 
to requirements of clause 3(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives and section 402 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the committee has received 
the following estimate for H.R. 3136 from the Director of the 
Congressional Budget Office:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                     Washington, DC, July 15, 2014.
Hon. John Kline,
Chairman, Committee on Education and the Workforce,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 3136, the 
Advancing Competency-Based Education Demonstration Project Act 
of 2014.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Justin 
Humphrey.
            Sincerely,
                                              Douglas W. Elmendorf.
    Enclosure.

H.R. 3136--Advancing Competency-Based Education Demonstration Project 
        Act of 2014

    H.R. 3136 would reserve $1 million from funding for the 
Department of Education to authorize the Secretary to select up 
to 20 eligible entities to participate in demonstration 
projects related to competency-based education. Competency-
based education focuses on measuring student achievement 
through an assessment of a student's knowledge and skills 
rather than by the completion of clock or credit hours.
    CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 3136 would require $1 
million for administrative costs for the department over the 
2015-2019 period, assuming the availability of appropriated 
funds.
    Additionally, CBO projects that enacting the bill could 
affect direct spending for student loans and Pell grants; 
therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures apply. However, CBO 
estimates that any direct spending effects would be 
insignificant for each year and over the 2015-2024 period. 
Enacting the bill would have no effect on revenues.
    H.R. 3136 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal governments.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Justin Humphrey. 
This estimate was approved by Peter H. Fontaine, Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

                        Committee Cost Estimate

    Clause 3(d)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives requires an estimate and a comparison of the 
costs that would be incurred in carrying out H.R. 3136. 
However, clause 3(d)(2)(B) of that rule provides that this 
requirement does not apply when the committee has included in 
its report a timely submitted cost estimate of the bill 
prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget Office 
under section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act.

         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

  In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (new matter is 
printed in italic and existing law in which no change is 
proposed is shown in roman):

HIGHER EDUCATION ACT OF 1965

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


TITLE IV--STUDENT ASSISTANCE

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Part G--General Provisions Relating to Student Assistance Programs

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SEC. 486B. COMPETENCY-BASED EDUCATION DEMONSTRATION PROJECTS.

  (a) Demonstration Projects Authorized.--The Secretary shall 
select, in accordance with subsection (c), eligible entities to 
voluntarily carry out competency-based education demonstration 
projects and receive waivers described in subsection (d) to 
carry out such projects.
  (b) Application.--
          (1) In general.--Each eligible entity desiring to 
        carry out a demonstration project under this section 
        shall submit an application to the Secretary, at such 
        time and in such manner as the Secretary may require.
          (2) Amendments.--An eligible entity may submit to the 
        Secretary amendments to the eligible entity's 
        application under paragraph (1), at such time and in 
        such manner as the Secretary may require, which the 
        Secretary shall approve or deny within 15 days of 
        receipt.
          (3) Contents.--Each application shall include--
                  (A) a description of the competency-based 
                education to be offered by the eligible entity 
                under the demonstration project;
                  (B) a description of the proposed academic 
                delivery, business, and financial models for 
                the demonstration project, including 
                explanations of how competency-based education 
                offered under the demonstration project would--
                          (i) result in the achievement of 
                        competencies;
                          (ii) differ from standard credit hour 
                        approaches, in whole or in part; and
                          (iii) result in lower costs or 
                        shortened time to degree, certificate, 
                        or credential completion;
                  (C) a description of how the competency-based 
                education offered under the demonstration 
                project will progress a student toward 
                completion of a degree, certificate, or 
                credential;
                  (D) a description of how the eligible entity 
                will articulate the transcript from the 
                competency-based education demonstration 
                project to another program within an 
                institution of higher education that is part of 
                the eligible entity or to another institution 
                of higher education;
                  (E) a description of the statutory and 
                regulatory requirements described in subsection 
                (d) for which the eligible entity is seeking a 
                waiver, and why such waiver is necessary to 
                carry out the demonstration project;
                  (F) a description of how the eligible entity 
                will develop and evaluate the competencies and 
                assessments of student knowledge (which may 
                include prior-learning assessments) 
                administered as part of the demonstration 
                project, including how such competencies and 
                assessments are aligned with workforce needs;
                  (G) a description of the proposal for 
                determining a student's Federal student aid 
                eligibility under this title for participating 
                in the demonstration project, the award and 
                distribution of such aid, and safeguards to 
                ensure that students are making satisfactory 
                progress that warrants disbursement of such 
                aid;
                  (H) a description of the students to whom 
                competency-based education will be offered, 
                including an assurance that the demonstration 
                project will enroll a minimum of 50 and a 
                maximum of 3,000 students;
                  (I) an assurance that students participating 
                in the demonstration project will not be 
                eligible for more Federal assistance under this 
                title than such students would have been 
                eligible for under a traditional program; and
                  (J) an assurance the eligible entity will 
                identify and disseminate best practices with 
                respect to the demonstration project to other 
                eligible entities carrying out a demonstration 
                project under this section.
  (c) Selection.--
          (1) In general.--Not later than 6 months after the 
        date of enactment of this section, the Secretary shall 
        select not more than 20 eligible entities to carry out 
        a competency-based education demonstration project 
        under this section.
          (2) Considerations.--In selecting eligible entities 
        under paragraph (1), the Secretary shall--
                  (A) prioritize projects which show promise in 
                reducing the time or cost required to complete 
                a degree, certificate, or credential;
                  (B) consider the number and quality of 
                applications received;
                  (C) consider an eligible entity's--
                          (i) ability to successfully execute 
                        the demonstration project as described 
                        in the eligible entity's application 
                        under subsection (b);
                          (ii) commitment and ability to 
                        effectively finance the demonstration 
                        project;
                          (iii) ability to provide 
                        administrative capability and the 
                        expertise to evaluate student progress 
                        based on measures other than credit 
                        hours or clock hours; and
                          (iv) commitment to work with the 
                        Secretary to evaluate the demonstration 
                        project and the impact of the 
                        demonstration project;
                  (D) ensure the selection of a diverse group 
                of eligible entities with respect to size, 
                mission, and geographic distribution of the 
                eligible entities;
                  (E) not limit the types of programs of study 
                or courses of study approved for participation 
                in a demonstration project; and
                  (F) not select an eligible entity that has 
                had, for 1 of the preceding 2 fiscal years--
                          (i) a cohort default rate (defined in 
                        section 435(m)) that is 30 percent or 
                        greater; and
                          (ii) a borrowing rate of loans under 
                        this title of more than 50 percent of 
                        the students enrolled at institutions 
                        of higher education of the eligible 
                        entity.
  (d) Waivers.--The Secretary may waive for any eligible entity 
selected to carry out a demonstration project under this 
section any requirements of the following provisions of law 
(including any regulations promulgated under such provisions) 
or regulations and for which the eligible entity has provided a 
reason for waiving under subsection (b)(3)(E):
          (1) Subparagraphs (A) and (B) of section 102(a)(3).
          (2) Subsections (a) and (b) of section 481, as such 
        subsections relate to requirements for a minimum number 
        of weeks of instruction.
          (3) Section 484(l)(1).
          (4) Section 668.32(a)(1)(iii) of title 34, Code of 
        Federal Regulations.
          (5) Any of the requirements under provisions in title 
        I, part F of this title, or this part, that inhibit the 
        operation of competency-based education, including 
        requirements with respect to--
                  (A) documenting attendance;
                  (B) weekly academic activity;
                  (C) minimum weeks of instructional time;
                  (D) requirements for credit hour or clock 
                hour equivalencies;
                  (E) requirements for substantive interaction 
                with faculty; and
                  (F) definitions of the terms ``academic 
                year'', ``full-time student'', ``term'' 
                (including ``standard term'', ``non-term'', and 
                ``non-standard term''), ``satisfactory academic 
                progress'', ``educational activity'', ``project 
                of study'', and ``payment period''.
  (e) Notification.--Not later than 6 months after the date of 
enactment of this section, the Secretary shall make available 
to the authorizing committees and the public a list of eligible 
entities selected to carry out a demonstration project under 
this section, which shall include for each such eligible 
entity--
          (1) the specific statutory and regulatory 
        requirements being waived under subsection (d); and
          (2) a description of the competency-based education 
        programs of study or courses of study to be offered 
        under the project.
  (f) Information and Evaluation.--
          (1) Information.--
                  (A) In general.--Each eligible entity that 
                carries out a demonstration project under this 
                section shall provide to the Director of the 
                Institution of Education Sciences with respect 
                to the students participating in the 
                competency-based education project carried out 
                by the eligible entity the following 
                information:
                          (i) The average number of credit 
                        hours the students earned prior to 
                        enrollment in the demonstration 
                        project, if applicable.
                          (ii) The number and percentage of 
                        students participating in the 
                        demonstration project that are also 
                        enrolled in programs of study or 
                        courses of study offered in credit 
                        hours or clock hours, disaggregated by 
                        student status as a first-year, second-
                        year, third-year, fourth-year, or other 
                        student.
                          (iii) The average period of time 
                        between the enrollment of a student in 
                        the demonstration project and the first 
                        assessment of student knowledge of such 
                        student.
                          (iv) The average time to 25 percent, 
                        50 percent, 75 percent, and 100 percent 
                        of the completion of a degree, 
                        certificate, or credential by a student 
                        who participated in the demonstration 
                        project.
                          (v) The percentage of assessments of 
                        student knowledge that students passed 
                        on the first attempt, during the period 
                        of the participation in the 
                        demonstration project by the students.
                          (vi) The percentage of assessments of 
                        student knowledge that students passed 
                        on the second attempt and the average 
                        period of time between the first and 
                        second attempts by students, during the 
                        period of the participation in the 
                        demonstration project by the students.
                          (vii) The average number of 
                        competencies a student acquired while 
                        participating in the demonstration 
                        project and the period of time during 
                        which the student acquired such 
                        competencies.
                          (viii) Such other information as the 
                        Director may reasonably require.
                  (B) Disaggregation.--Each eligible entity 
                shall provide the information required under 
                subparagraph (A) disaggregated by age, race, 
                gender, disability status, and status as a 
                recipient of a Federal Pell Grant, provided 
                that the disaggregation of the information does 
                not identify any individual student 
                participating in the demonstration project.
          (2) Evaluation.--The Director of the Institute of 
        Education Sciences, in consultation with the Secretary, 
        shall annually evaluate each demonstration project 
        under this section. Each evaluation shall include--
                  (A) the extent to which the eligible entity 
                has met the goals set forth in its application 
                to the Secretary;
                  (B) the number and types of students 
                participating in the competency-based education 
                offered under the project, including the 
                progress of participating students toward 
                completion of a degree, certificate, or 
                credential, and the extent to which 
                participation and retention in such project 
                increased;
                  (C) whether the project led to reduced cost 
                or time to completion of a degree, certificate, 
                or credential, and the amount of cost or time 
                reduced for such completion;
                  (D) obstacles related to student financial 
                assistance for competency-based education;
                  (E) the extent to which statutory or 
                regulatory requirements not waived under 
                subsection (d) present difficulties for 
                students or institutions of higher education;
                  (F) degree, certificate, or credential 
                completion rates;
                  (G) retention rates;
                  (H) total cost and net cost to the student of 
                the competency-based education offered under 
                the project;
                  (I) a description of the assessments of 
                student knowledge and the corresponding 
                competencies; and
                  (J) outcomes of the assessments of student 
                knowledge.
          (3) Annual report.--The Director of the Institute of 
        Education Sciences shall annually provide to the 
        authorizing committees a report on--
                  (A) the evaluations of the demonstration 
                projects required under paragraph (2);
                  (B) the number and types of students 
                receiving assistance under this title for 
                competency-based education under such projects;
                  (C) the retention and completion rates of 
                students participating in such projects;
                  (D) any proposed statutory or regulatory 
                changes designed to support and enhance the 
                expansion of competency-based education, which 
                may be independent of or combined with 
                traditional credit hour or clock hour projects;
                  (E) the most effective means of delivering 
                competency-based education through 
                demonstration projects; and
                  (F) the appropriate level and distribution 
                methodology of Federal assistance under this 
                title for students enrolled in competency-based 
                education.
  (g) Oversight.--In carrying out this section, the Secretary 
shall, on a continuing basis--
          (1) assure compliance of eligible entities with the 
        requirements of this title (other than the provisions 
        of law and regulations that are waived under subsection 
        (d));
          (2) provide technical assistance;
          (3) monitor fluctuations in the student population 
        enrolled in the eligible entities carrying out the 
        demonstration projects under this section; and
          (4) consult with appropriate accrediting agencies or 
        associations and appropriate State regulatory 
        authorities for additional ways of improving the 
        delivery of competency-based education.
  (h) Definitions.--For the purpose of this section:
          (1) Competency-based education.--The term 
        ``competency-based education'' means an educational 
        process or program that measures knowledge, skills, and 
        experience through assessments of such knowledge, 
        skills, or experience in place of or in addition to the 
        use of credit hours or clock hours.
          (2) Eligible entity.--The term ``eligible entity'' 
        means--
                  (A) an institution of higher education;
                  (B) a system of institutions of higher 
                education; or
                  (C) a consortium of institutions of higher 
                education.
          (3) Institution of higher education.--The term 
        ``institution of higher education'' has the meaning 
        given the term in section 102, except that such term 
        does not include institutions described in section 
        102(a)(1)(C).

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                             MINORITY VIEWS

    We support and concur with the Majority views on H.R. 3136. 
However, student loan debt and skyrocketing college costs are 
one of the nation's top domestic concerns and the bill fails to 
address the needs of students and families already facing a 
mountain of student debt. Democrats believe college cost and 
affordability should be at the top of the Higher Education Act 
reauthorization agenda. That is why Democrats offered an 
amendment, which was rejected by the Majority, to allow 
millions of borrowers to refinance their private and federal 
student loans to today's current low rates.
    Today, some 40 million borrowers are working to repay $1.2 
trillion in student loans. The average student loan debt for a 
borrower graduating today is nearly $30,000, and graduates are 
struggling to pay this back: one third of all student loan 
dollars issued through the Federal Direct program are currently 
in default, forbearance, or deferment.
    Making repayment even more difficult, some college 
graduates are stuck with interest rates at 8 percent, 12 
percent, or even higher. Congress should take advantage of low 
cost of capital and offer these Americans the same historically 
low interest rates that home and auto loan borrowers can 
already access today.
    The amendment, offered by Congressman Tierney, would save 
American families over $50 billion, which they can then 
reinvest in their local economy. A typical participating 
borrower would save $2,000 over the life of his or her loan.
    The student debt crisis isn't just a borrower's problem, it 
is also affecting our nation's economy. The Federal Reserve has 
reported crushing student loan debt may be undermining the 
ability of families to buy their first home, purchase their 
first car, or otherwise invest in our economy.
    Democrats will continue to work to make college more 
affordable and accessible, increase oversight and quality 
assurance of colleges and loan servicers, and to promote new 
and innovative practices that can reduce student loan debt.

                                   George Miller.
                                   Jared Polis.
                                   Robert C. ``Bobby'' Scott.
                                   Mark Takano.
                                   Timothy H. Bishop.
                                   Rush Holt.
                                   Raul M. Grijalva.
                                   Mark Pocan.
                                   Suzanne Bonamici.
                                   Frederica S. Wilson.
                                   Joe Courtney.
                                   Gregorio Kilili Sablan.
                                   Susan A. Davis.
                                   Ruben Hinojosa.
                                   David Loebsack.
                                   Marcia L. Fudge.
                                   Carolyn McCarthy.
                                   John Tierney.