Report text available as:

  • TXT
  • PDF   (PDF provides a complete and accurate display of this text.) Tip ?

114th Congress   }                                        {    Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session      }                                        {   114-678

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



 
            SIMPLIFYING THE APPLICATION FOR STUDENT AID ACT

                                _______
                                

 July 11, 2016.--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

                        [To accompany H.R. 5528]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Education and the Workforce, to whom was 
referred the bill (H.R. 5528) to amend the Higher Education Act 
of 1965 to simplify the FAFSA, and for other purposes, 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 ``Simplifying the Application for 
Student Aid Act''.

SEC. 2. USING DATA FROM SECOND PRECEDING YEAR.

  Section 480(a)(1)(B) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 
1087vv(a)(1)(B)) is amended by striking ``may'' in both places it 
appears and inserting ``shall''.

SEC. 3. CALCULATION OF ANNUAL ADJUSTMENT PERCENTAGE FOR FEDERAL PELL 
                    GRANTS.

  Section 401(b)(7)(C)(iv)(I) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 
U.S.C. 1070a(b)(7)(C)(iv)(I)) is amended by striking ``calendar year'' 
and inserting ``fiscal year''.

SEC. 4. FAFSA SIMPLIFICATION.

  (a) FAFSA Simplification.--Section 483 of the Higher Education Act of 
1965 (20 U.S.C. 1090) is amended--
          (1) in subsection (a)(3), by adding at the end the following:
                  ``(I) Format.--Not later than 180 days after the date 
                of the enactment of the Simplifying the Application for 
                Student Aid Act, the Secretary shall make the 
                electronic version of the forms under this paragraph 
                available through a technology tool that can be used on 
                mobile devices. Such technology tool shall, at minimum, 
                enable applicants to--
                          ``(i) save data; and
                          ``(ii) submit their FAFSA to the Secretary 
                        through such tool.
                  ``(J) Consumer testing.--In developing and 
                maintaining the electronic version of the forms under 
                this paragraph and the technology tool for mobile 
                devices under subparagraph (I), the Secretary shall 
                conduct consumer testing with appropriate persons to 
                ensure the forms and technology tool are designed to be 
                easily usable and understandable by students and 
                families. Such consumer testing shall include--
                          ``(i) current and prospective college 
                        students, family members of such students, and 
                        other individuals with expertise in student 
                        financial assistance application processes;
                          ``(ii) dependent students and independent 
                        students meeting the requirements under 
                        subsection (b) or (c) of section 479; and
                          ``(iii) dependent students and independent 
                        students who do not meet the requirements under 
                        subsection (b) or (c) of section 479.''; and
          (2) by amending subsection (f) to read as follows:
  ``(f) Use of Internal Revenue Service Data Retrieval Tool to Populate 
FAFSA.--
          ``(1) Simplification efforts.--The Secretary shall--
                  ``(A) make every effort to use data available from 
                the Internal Revenue Service to reduce the amount of 
                original data entry by applicants and strengthen the 
                reliability of data used to calculate expected family 
                contributions, including through the use of technology 
                to--
                          ``(i) automatically populate the electronic 
                        version of the forms under this paragraph with 
                        data available from the Internal Revenue 
                        Service; and
                          ``(ii) direct an applicant to appropriate 
                        questions on such forms based on the 
                        applicant's answers to previous questions; and
                  ``(B) allow single taxpayers, married taxpayers 
                filing jointly, and married taxpayers filing separately 
                to utilize the data retrieval tool to its full 
                capacity.
          ``(2) Use of tax return in application process.--The 
        Secretary shall continue to examine whether data provided by 
        the Internal Revenue Service can be used to generate an 
        expected family contribution without additional action on the 
        part of the student and taxpayer.
          ``(3) Reports on fafsa simplification efforts.--Not less than 
        once every other year, the Secretary shall report to the 
        authorizing committees on the progress of the simplification 
        efforts under this subsection.
          ``(4) Reports on fafsa access.--Not less than once every 10 
        years, the Secretary shall report to the authorizing committees 
        on the needs of limited English proficient students using the 
        FAFSA.''.
  (b) Funding.--
          (1) Use of existing funds.--Of the amount authorized to be 
        appropriated to the Department of Education to maintain the 
        Free Application for Federal Student Aid, $3,000,000 shall be 
        available to carry out this Act and the amendments made by this 
        Act.
          (2) No additional funds authorized.--No funds are authorized 
        by this Act to be appropriated to carry out this Act or the 
        amendments made by this Act.

                                Purpose

    H.R. 5528, the Simplifying the Application for Student Aid 
Act, streamlines and improves the student aid process by 
providing for earlier award notification and making the Free 
Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) simpler and more 
accessible.

                            Committee Action

    As the Committee on Education and the Workforce (Committee) 
continues 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 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 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 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 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 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, 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, 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 Committee 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. This bill was not signed into 
law.
    On June 3, 2011, Chairman John Kline (R-MN) and 
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 (Secretary) from defining credit hour for any purpose 
under the Higher Education Act of 1965.
    On June 15, 2011, the Committee 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 would 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 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 
Training 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 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 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 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 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 
they would be locked 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 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 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 22, 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), 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 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., on 
``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., on ``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, U.S. 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 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, 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 directed the Secretary to select 
institutions or consortia of institutions for voluntary 
participation in competency-based education demonstration 
projects. The demonstration projects would have provided 
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 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 U.S. 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. 3136, which was not adopted:
     Rep. Tierney (D-MA) offered an amendment that 
would have allowed 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. 
Ranking Member 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 July 23, 2014, the House of Representatives considered 
H.R. 3136 and passed it, as amended, by a recorded vote of 414-
0 on July 23, 2014. The bill was sent to the Senate and was 
referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, 
and Pensions.
    On June 26, 2014, Subcommittee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-
NC) and Rep. Luke Messer (R-IN) introduced H.R. 4983, the 
Strengthening Transparency in Higher Education Act. The bill 
simplified and streamlined the information made publicly 
available by the Secretary regarding institutions of higher 
education.
    On July 10, 2014, the Committee 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:
     Subcommittee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) 
offered an amendment in the nature of a substitute that 
required additional information on the College Dashboard; 
required the Secretary to conduct consumer testing in 
consultation with appropriate federal departments and agencies; 
ensured consumer testing addresses whether the College 
Dashboard provides useful and relevant information to students 
and families; required the Secretary to submit to the 
authorizing committees recommendations based on the results of 
consumer testing; set new minimum requirements for net price 
calculators, required funding to come from funds already 
appropriated to maintain the College Navigator; and made 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:
     Ranking Member George Miller (D-CA) offered an 
amendment that required 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 July 23, 2014, the House of Representatives considered 
H.R. 4983 under suspension of the rules. The bill was agreed to 
by voice vote, sent to the Senate, and referred to the Senate 
Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.
    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 
amended the loan counseling requirements under the Higher 
Education Act and required counseling for Federal Pell Grant 
recipients.
    On July 10, 2014, the Committee 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:
     Reps. Brett Guthrie (R-KY) and Suzanne Bonamici 
(D-OR) offered an amendment in the nature of a substitute that 
removed the requirement that annual counseling for Pell Grant 
recipients be tied to disbursement of the grant; required 
additional information be disclosed to borrowers during annual 
counseling and exit counseling sessions; required institutions 
to provide annual counseling to borrowers receiving Parent PLUS 
loans; required any funds used to carry out the act to come 
from funds already appropriated to maintain the Financial 
Awareness Counseling Tool; and made 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 
U.S. 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. Ranking Member 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.
    On July 24, 2014, the House of Representatives considered 
H.R. 4984 and passed it, as amended, by a vote of 405-11. The 
bill was sent to the Senate and referred to the Senate 
Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

                             114TH CONGRESS

Hearings--First session

    On February 4, 2015, the Committee held a hearing in 
Washington, D.C., on ``Expanding Opportunity in America's 
Schools and Workplaces.'' The purpose of the hearing was to 
allow Committee members to learn about efforts made by state 
leaders to strengthen education, to make sure those who 
graduate are prepared to pursue a postsecondary education and 
compete in the workforce, and promote efforts to spur job 
creation. Testifying before the Committee were Dr. Michael 
Amiridis, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic 
Affairs, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South 
Carolina; Mr. Drew Greenblatt, President and CEO, Marlin Steel 
Wire Products, Baltimore, Maryland; Dr. Lawrence Mishel, Ph.D., 
President, Economic Policy Institute, Washington, D.C.; and The 
Honorable Mike Pence, Governor, State of Indiana, Indianapolis, 
Indiana.
    On March 17, 2015, the Committee on Education and the 
Workforce Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce 
Training held a hearing in Washington, D.C., on ``Strengthening 
America's Higher Education System.'' The purpose of the hearing 
was to explore policy proposals that align with the Committee's 
four pillars for reauthorization of the HEA: (1) empowering 
students and families to make informed decisions; (2) 
simplifying and improving student aid; (3) promoting 
innovation, access, and completion; and (4) ensuring strong 
accountability and a limited federal role. Testifying before 
the Subcommittee were Mr. Willis Goldsmith, Partner, Jones Day, 
New York, New York who testified on behalf of the U.S. Chamber 
of Commerce; Mr. Stan Soloway, President and CEO, Professional 
Services Council, Arlington, Virginia; Ms. Angela Styles, 
Partner, Crowell & Moring LLP, Washington, D.C.; and Ms. Karla 
Walter, Associate Director, American Worker Project, Center for 
American Progress, Washington, D.C.
    On April 30, 2015, the Committee on Education and the 
Workforce Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce 
Training held a hearing in Washington, D.C., on ``Improving 
College Access and Completion for Low-Income and First-
Generation Students.'' The purpose of the hearing was to 
explore policy proposals and best practices to strengthen 
programs to help disadvantaged students access and complete 
higher education. Testifying before the Subcommittee were Dr. 
Laura Perna, James S. Riepe Professor, Executive Director, 
Alliance for Higher Education and Democracy, University of 
Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Dr. Charles J. 
Alexander, Associate Vice Provost for Student Diversity, 
Director, Academic Advancement Program, Associate Adjunct 
Professor, University of California, Los Angeles, California; 
Dr. Michelle Asha Cooper, President, Institute for Higher 
Education Policy, Washington, D.C.; and Dr. Joe D. May, 
Chancellor, Dallas County Community College District, Dallas, 
Texas.
    On September 10, 2015, the Committee on Education and the 
Workforce Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce 
Training held a hearing in Washington, D.C., on ``Preventing 
and Responding to Sexual Assault on College Campuses.'' The 
purpose of the hearing was to explore policy proposals and best 
practices to help institutions address and respond to campus 
sexual assault and violence. Testifying before the Subcommittee 
were Ms. Dana Scaduto, General Counsel, Dickinson College, 
Carlisle, Pennsylvania; Dr. Penny Rue, Vice President for 
Campus Life, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North 
Carolina; Ms. Lisa M. Maatz, M.A., Vice President for 
Government Relations, American Association of University Women, 
Washington, D.C.; and Mr. Joseph Cohn, Legislative and Policy 
Director, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, 
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
    On November 18, 2015, 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 Government Operations held a 
hearing in Washington, D.C., on ``Federal Student Aid: 
Performance-Based Organization Review.'' The purpose of the 
hearing was to review the Office of Federal Student Aid's (FSA) 
responsibilities as a Performance-Based Organization (PBO), 
evaluate the PBO's performance, and identify possible areas of 
reform. Testifying before the subcommittees were Mr. James 
Runcie, Chief Operating Officer, U.S. Department of Education, 
Washington, D.C.; Ms. Melissa Emrey-Arras, Director, Education 
Workforce, and Income Security, U.S. Government Accountability 
Office, Washington, D.C.; The Honorable Kathleen Tighe, 
Inspector General, U.S. Department of Education, Washington, 
D.C.; Mr. Ben Miller, Senior Director, Postsecondary Education, 
Center for American Progress, Washington, D.C.; and Mr. Justin 
Draeger, President, National Association of Student Financial 
Aid Administrators, Washington, D.C.

Legislative action--First session

    On July 23, 2015, Higher Education and Workforce Training 
Subcommittee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx along with Chairman John 
Kline (R-MN), Ranking Member Robert C. Scott (D-VA), and Reps. 
Luke Messer (R-IN), Gregorio Sablan (D-MP), Tim Walberg (R-MI), 
Joe Heck (R-NV), Buddy Carter (R-GA), Elise Stefanik (R-NY), 
Susan Davis (D-CA), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), and Mark DeSaulnier 
(D-CA) introduced H.R. 3178, the Strengthening Transparency in 
Higher Education Act. The bill ensures straightforward and 
useful information is easily accessible to students and parents 
and improves coordination between federal agencies to publish 
information about colleges and universities.
    On July 23, 2015, Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY) along with 
Chairman John Kline (R-MN), Ranking Member Robert C. Scott (D-
VA), and Reps. Rick Allen (R-GA), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), 
Duncan Hunter (R-CA), Tim Walberg (R-MI), Joe Heck (R-NV), Luke 
Messer (R-IN), Buddy Carter (R-GA), Elise Stefanik (R-NY), 
Susan Davis (D-CA), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Gregorio Sablan (D-
MP), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Mark Takano (D-CA), Katherine Clark (D-
MA), Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA), and Richard Hudson (R-NC) 
introduced H.R. 3179, the Empowering Students Through Enhanced 
Financial Counseling Act. The bill promotes financial literacy 
through enhanced counseling for all recipients of federal 
financial aid.
    On September 24, 2015, Reps. Mike Bishop (R-MI) and Mark 
Pocan (D-WI) introduced H.R. 3594, the Higher Education 
Extension Act of 2015. The bill extends the authorization of 
the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and 
Integrity and the authority of institutions of higher education 
to make loans to new borrowers under the federal Perkins loan 
program through September 30, 2016.
    On September 28, 2015, the House of Representatives passed 
H.R. 3594 by a voice vote. The bill was sent to the Senate and 
referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, 
and Pensions. The Senate amended the bill to extend the 
authorization of the federal Perkins loan program to September 
30, 2017. The amendment was adopted by unanimous consent, and 
the underlying legislation was subsequently passed in the 
Senate on December 16, 2015, by voice vote.
    On December 17, 2015, the House agreed to the Senate 
amendment by unanimous consent. The Higher Education Extension 
Act of 2015 was signed into law by the President on December 
18, 2015.

Legislative action--Second session

    On June 22, 2016, the Committee on Education and the 
Workforce considered H.R. 3178 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. 3178:
     Subcommittee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) 
offered an amendment in the nature of a substitute to make 
conforming and technical changes. The amendment was adopted by 
voice vote.
    On June 22, 2016, the Committee considered H.R. 3179 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. 3179:
     Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY) offered an amendment in 
the nature of a substitute to make conforming and technical 
changes. The amendment was adopted by voice vote.
    On June 20, 2016, Rep. Joe Heck (R-NV) along with Reps. 
David ``Phil'' Roe (R-TN), Jared Polis (D-CO), and Mark Pocan 
(D-WI) introduced H.R. 5528, the Simplifying the Application 
for Student Aid Act. The bill ensures continued allowance for 
earlier notification of federal student aid, leverages 
technology to make the application for federal student aid more 
accessible and easier to fill out, and provides more time for 
aid administrators to verify and package student aid.
    On June 22, 2016, the Committee considered H.R. 5528 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. 5528:
     Rep. Joe Heck (R-NV) offered an amendment in the 
nature of a substitute to make conforming and technical 
changes. The amendment was adopted by voice vote.
    On June 20, 2016, Rep. Joe Heck (R-NV) along with Reps. 
Ruben Hinojosa (D-TX) and Raul Ruiz (D-CA) introduced H.R. 
5529, the Accessing Higher Education Opportunities Act. The 
bill expands the authorized uses of funds for Hispanic-Serving 
Institutions (HSIs) so they may promote dual enrollment 
opportunities and encourage Hispanic students to pursue 
doctoral degree programs in the healthcare industry.
    On June 22, 2016, the Committee considered H.R. 5529 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. 5529:
     Rep. Joe Heck (R-NV) offered an amendment in the 
nature of a substitute to make conforming and technical 
changes. The amendment was adopted by voice vote.
    On June 20, 2016, Reps. Alma Adams (D-NC) and Bradley Byrne 
(R-AL) introduced H.R. 5530, the HBCU Capital Financing 
Improvement Act. The bill improves the program by requiring the 
advisory board to send an annual report to Congress regarding 
the status of the Historically Black College and University 
(HBCU) Capital Financing Program. Additionally, the bill 
renames the escrow account to ``bond insurance fund.'' Lastly, 
this bill allows for financial counseling to potential eligible 
HBCUs to assist in their preparation to qualify, apply for, and 
maintain a capital improvement loan.
    On June 22, 2016, the Committee considered H.R. 5530 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. 5530:
     Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC) offered an amendment in the 
nature of a substitute to make conforming and technical 
changes. The amendment was adopted by voice vote.

                                Summary

    The Simplifying the Application for Student Aid Act 
provides for continued earlier notification of federal student 
aid awards and for better utilization of technology to simplify 
the FAFSA, and it makes the FAFSA more accessible to students 
and families.
    The legislation ensures students will be able to apply for 
federal student aid using income data from the tax return filed 
one year prior to the current application cycle. Since a 
family's tax return uses income data from the prior year, the 
process of using a previous return is often referred to as 
``prior-prior year.'' The legislation also changes the Pell 
Grant inflationary increase calculation from the end of the 
calendar year to the end of the fiscal year, thereby allowing 
aid administrators to package accurate aid packages earlier.
    The legislation makes the FAFSA more easily accessible by 
requiring the Secretary to make the application available on a 
mobile device. The Secretary is required to consumer test the 
mobile and online versions of the FAFSA with students in 
various income situations and with other experts in student 
financial assistance to ensure the applications are easy to 
understand and use. The legislation also requires the Secretary 
to periodically report on FAFSA simplification efforts and the 
needs of limited-English proficient students using the FAFSA.
    Additionally, the legislation simplifies the FAFSA by 
requiring the Secretary to make every effort to allow students 
and families to easily import their Internal Revenue Service 
(IRS) income data.

                            Committee Views


Introduction

    Federal, state, and institutional aid is vitally important 
to many potential and current postsecondary students. However, 
the federal financial aid system is so complex that it has left 
many confused about the best options available to pay for their 
higher education. This is especially true for students whose 
parents or family members did not attend college.
    For many students, this confusion begins when they attempt 
to fill out the FAFSA, the form that helps financial aid 
officers determine students' eligibility for financial aid, 
including the Pell Grant, student loans, work-study 
opportunities, and state and institutional aid. The FAFSA 
form--with the paper version running 10 pages and over 100 
questions long--is too complex for many students and families 
to easily understand and complete. Additionally, the 
traditional aid application timeline has not served the best 
interest of students, families, and taxpayers.
    The timing of the aid application process and the 
application itself must be improved so students and families 
can more easily apply and make informed decisions about their 
postsecondary education options.

Earlier notification of federal student aid

    To help streamline and improve the federal student aid 
process, Reps. Joe Heck (R-NV), David ``Phil'' Roe (R-TN), 
Jared Polis (D-CO), and Mark Pocan (D-WI) introduced H.R. 5528, 
the Simplifying the Application for Student Aid Act, to ensure 
continued allowance for earlier notification of federal student 
aid.
    Historically, the FAFSA was available on January 1 for the 
upcoming year, well after many college application deadlines, 
and required applicants to provide income from the tax return 
due a few months later in April. In order for students to take 
advantage of the ability to easily transfer their IRS income 
data onto the FAFSA, they had to wait until after they filed 
their tax returns. These timing inconsistencies may have caused 
delays in the submission of FAFSA forms, leaving financial aid 
administrators little time to put together aid packages for 
incoming students. According to a 2013 report published by the 
National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators:

          Under the current structure, delays can cause an 
        unfavorable chain reaction: a delay in completing the 
        income tax return can mean a delay in submitting the 
        FAFSA, which can result in a delay in financial aid 
        notification--and potentially a reduced amount of 
        financial aid. This occurs because some forms of 
        financial aid have a limited pot of funds, which is 
        distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. Every 
        college student needs to know where they stand sooner 
        rather than later, so the student can adjust and 
        prepare for the costs of college.\1\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\https://www.nasfaa.org/uploads/documents/ppy--report.pdf. p. 3.

    In order to provide students with earlier aid notifications 
and assist administrators with more time to package and award 
aid, stakeholders have long called for a change to allow 
borrowers to apply for aid using prior-prior year data. At a 
2015 hearing of the Committee on Education and the Workforce 
Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Trainingh 
earing, the Honorable Mitch Daniels, former Governor of Indiana 
and current President of Purdue University, testified about the 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
benefits of changing to prior-prior year:

          Basing decisions on a prior-prior year (PPY) basis 
        would enable better alignment of the application 
        process with existing IRS data. The current system, 
        which uses the previous year's financial records, is 
        prone to delays and complications that result from the 
        routine tax process. Switching to PPY would allow time 
        for tax forms to be processed, corrected and analyzed 
        before admissions decisions are made and FAFSA 
        applications are due. It would be advantageous both in 
        terms of financial planning and connecting the 
        application to existing data.\2\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \2\http://edworkforce.house.gov/calendar/
eventsingle.aspx?EventID=398531.

    In the 2008 Higher Education Opportunity Act, Congress 
provided the Secretary the authority to allow the use of prior-
prior year income. However, the Secretary is only now utilizing 
that authority. Starting this year, applicants can complete the 
FAFSA using prior-prior year income. In addition, the Secretary 
will make the application available in October 2016, three 
months earlier than usual. The Committee recognizes the 
benefits of using prior-prior year data to students, 
institutions, and taxpayers, and is committed to ensuring this 
commonsense policy remains in place in future academic years.
    The earlier aid process timeline provided by prior-prior 
year allows other aspects of the aid process to occur sooner as 
well. H.R. 5528 takes steps to make sure other aspects of the 
federal student aid system align with an earlier timeline by 
changing the Pell Grant inflationary increase calculation from 
occurring at the end of the calendar year to the end of the 
fiscal year. This will allow aid administrators to offer 
accurate aid packages to prospective students earlier, giving 
them more time to weigh options and make the most informed 
decisions about where to attend and how to finance a higher 
education. However, the Committee does not intend the move to 
prior-prior year to complicate income eligibility 
determinations for TRIO program participants and believes TRIO 
program administrators should continue to be allowed to use 
financial aid data from the FAFSA to verify a student's 
eligibility to be served by TRIO.

Simplifying the FAFSA for students and families

    Questions on the FAFSA form range from the net worth of 
investments to complicated tax questions and are often 
difficult for students and families to understand. This 
confusion can deter applicants from completing the form, 
preventing students from receiving financial aid for which they 
may otherwise have been eligible. While steps have been taken 
to simplify the FAFSA through the use of skip logic and 
reducing the number of questions families must answer, the 
Committee believes more can be done.
    The move to prior-prior year and the use of IRS data 
retrieval tool (DRT) will strengthen the integrity of federal 
financial aid and reduce verification burdens on institutions 
of higher education. Before prior-prior year, student aid 
administrators had limited time to verify the accuracy of 
students' income data. As Michael Bennett, Associate Vice 
President of Financial Aid Services at St. Petersburg College 
in Florida, discussed at the March 2015 hearing entitled 
``Strengthening America's Higher Education System'':

          With more completed, and therefore accurate, tax 
        information, verification burden for both students and 
        institutions would be dramatically reduced through an 
        increased use of the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. This 
        reduced burden will free up more time for financial aid 
        administrators to spend on counseling students.

    The Committee believes the DRT has significantly reduced 
the burden of filling out the FAFSA by allowing families to 
import their tax information from the IRS, which eliminates 
many of the questions students and families struggle to answer. 
The implementation of prior-prior year allows more families to 
immediately utilize the DRT by eliminating the delay between 
filing taxes and the DRT becoming available. The Simplifying 
the Application for Student Aid Act directs the Secretary to 
allow married taxpayers filing separately to use the DRT as 
single taxpayers and married taxpayers filing jointly can 
currently. The legislation also directs the Secretary of 
Education to make every effort to utilize technology to 
strengthen the DRT and eliminate the need for students and 
families to answer questions that are not relevant to them.
    H.R. 5528 requires the Secretary to continue examining ways 
to simplify the FAFSA through the DRT and report to Congress 
biennially on the U.S. Department of Education's efforts. The 
Committee encourages the Secretary to consider any 
redistribution of federal, state, and institutional aid that 
may occur through such simplification efforts as well as any 
potential limitations of using IRS data sufficient to calculate 
need for the determination of state aid. The Committee 
additionally encourages the Secretary to consider any other 
means of simplification made possible through the use of prior-
prior year data.
    The Simplifying the Application for Student Aid Act 
requires the Secretary to conduct consumer testing to ensure 
the electronic versions of the FAFSA are easily understandable 
by students and families. The Committee appreciates the work 
done to make the FAFSA more user-friendly but believes more can 
be done to make sure the FAFSA is as understandable as 
possible. By requiring the Secretary to conduct consumer 
testing with current and prospective college students, family 
members of such students, financial aid application experts, 
and students who do and do not qualify for the automatic zero 
expected family contribution calculation or the Simplified 
Needs Test, the electronic versions of the FAFSA can be 
strengthened for efficiency and design.

Promoting FAFSA access

    One of the main purposes of FAFSA simplification is to make 
the form more accessible to students, thereby making a higher 
education more attainable. Since the creation of the online 
FAFSA in 1997, FAFSA completion time has decreased. However, 
this online application is not always easily accessible. A 
recent report found two million students who would have been 
eligible for the Pell Grant did not fill out the FAFSA. Roughly 
23 percent of these students cited the difficulty of the 
financial aid form or lack of information about how to apply as 
a reason for not completing the FASFA.\3\ Another report found 
40 percent of all families with incomes below $25,000 and with 
school-age children lack a high speed internet connection at 
home.\4\ Students with families in this income bracket are 
likely eligible for a Pell Grant and the most likely to receive 
state and institutional aid, both of which often rely on FAFSA 
data.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \3\https://www.edvisors.com/media/files/student-aid-policy/
20150112-leaving-money-on-the-table.pdf. p. 3.
    \4\http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/04/20/the-numbers-
behind-the-broadband-homework-gap/.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Committee believes barriers to access should be removed 
and students should not be precluded from applying for aid 
because their families do not have ready access to computers or 
Internet. For this reason, the Simplifying the Application for 
Student Aid Act requires the Secretary to make the FAFSA 
available on mobile phones, through a mobile application or 
another technology tool.
    Additionally, a student's access to federal financial aid 
should not be hampered by the limited English proficiency of 
their parents. Complicated financial questions are sometimes 
best understood when asked in one's native language, similar to 
how the IRS offers assistance to taxpayers in multiple 
languages.
    The FAFSA relies in large part on IRS data, and there is 
evidence that parents whose native languages are other than 
English are relying on costly translation services to enter 
their information and help their children apply for federal 
financial aid. The Committee believes the FAFSA should be free 
for all American citizens and additional expenses for 
translators should be avoided. The Committee directs the 
Secretary to take special efforts to make the FAFSA more 
accessible to families with limited English proficiency, in 
multiple languages similar to IRS practices cited above. In 
addition to simplifying the FAFSA completion process for whole 
populations of students and their families, this legislation 
also requires the Secretary to periodically report on the needs 
of limited-English proficient students using the FAFSA.

Conclusion

    For many students and families, federal financial aid makes 
a postsecondary education possible. Confusion surrounding the 
student aid system, however, can act as a barrier to students 
attempting to access this assistance. The Simplifying the 
Application for Student Aid Act takes an important step toward 
simplifying the financial aid process by ensuring students and 
families can apply more easily and at a time that enables them 
to make the most informed decisions about their education.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis


Section 1. Short title

    States the short title is the Simplifying the Application 
for Student Aid Act.

Section 2. Using data from second preceding year

    Amends section 480(a) of the Higher Education Act to 
require the Secretary to allow for the use of income from the 
second preceding tax year when applicants fill out the FAFSA.

Section 3. Calculation of annual adjustment percentage for Federal Pell 
        Grants

    Amends section 401(b) of the Higher Education Act to allow 
the adjustment percentage for Federal Pell Grants to be 
calculated at the end of each fiscal year instead of the end of 
each calendar year.

Section 4. FAFSA simplification

    Amends section 483(a) of the Higher Education Act to 
require the Secretary to make the FAFSA available through a 
technology tool for mobile devices. Requires the Secretary to 
conduct consumer testing for the mobile and online versions of 
the FAFSA to ensure they are easily usable and understandable 
to students and families.
    Amends section 483(f) of the Higher Education Act to 
require the Secretary to make every effort to use data 
available from the IRS to reduce the amount of original data 
entry by applicants and allow more taxpayers to utilize the 
data retrieval tool. Requires the Secretary to report to 
Congress every other year on its FAFSA simplification efforts 
and no less than once every 10 years on the needs of limited-
English proficient students using the FAFSA.
    Reserves $3 million from funding authorized to be 
appropriated for maintaining the FAFSA to be available to carry 
out this legislation and specifies no additional funds are 
authorized to be appropriated by this legislation.

                       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. 5528, the Simplifying the Application for Student 
Aid Act, streamlines and improves the student aid process by 
providing for earlier award notification and making the Free 
Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) simpler and more 
accessible.

                       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. 5528 does not contain any congressional earmarks, 
limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined in 
clause 9 of House Rule XXI.

         Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives

    In accordance with clause (3)(c) of House rule XIII, the 
goals of H.R. 5528 are to streamline and improve the student 
aid process by providing for earlier award notification and 
making the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) 
simpler and more accessible.

                    Duplication of Federal Programs

    No provision of H.R. 5528 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. 5528 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. 5528 from the Director of the 
Congressional Budget Office:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                      Washington, DC, July 5, 2016.
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. 5528, the 
Simplifying the Application for Student Aid Act.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Justin 
Humphrey.
            Sincerely,
                                                        Keith Hall.
    Enclosure.

H.R. 5528--Simplifying the Application for Student Aid Act

    H.R. 5528 would reserve $3 million from funding for the 
Department of Education to implement changes to the application 
process for federal student aid. Those changes would include 
developing and testing a version of the application for mobile 
devices and continuing to develop the data retrieval system 
that allows students to pre-populate the online application 
with data from the Internal Revenue Service.
    CBO estimates that implementing the additional 
administrative requirements in H.R. 5528 would cost $3 million 
over the 2017-2021 period; such spending would be subject to 
the availability of appropriated funds.
    Enacting the bill could increase applications for federal 
student aid, which would increase discretionary spending for 
Pell grants and direct spending for student loans and Pell 
grants; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures apply. However, CBO 
estimates that those effects would be insignificant for each 
year and over the 2017-2026 period. Enacting H.R. 5528 would 
not affect revenues.
    CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 5528 would not increase 
net direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four 
consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2027.
    H.R. 5528 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. 
The estimate was approved by H. Samuel Papenfuss, Deputy 
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. 5528. 
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 (existing law 
proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, 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 A--Grants to Students in Attendance at Institutions of Higher 
Education

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



                     Subpart 1--Federal Pell Grants

SEC. 401. FEDERAL PELL GRANTS: AMOUNT AND DETERMINATIONS; APPLICATIONS.

  (a) Program Authority and Method of Distribution.--(1) For 
each fiscal year through fiscal year 2017, the Secretary shall 
pay to each eligible institution such sums as may be necessary 
to pay to each eligible student (defined in accordance with 
section 484) for each academic year during which that student 
is in attendance at an institution of higher education, as an 
undergraduate, a Federal Pell Grant in the amount for which 
that student is eligible, as determined pursuant to subsection 
(b). Not less than 85 percent of such sums shall be advanced to 
eligible institutions prior to the start of each payment period 
and shall be based upon an amount requested by the institution 
as needed to pay eligible students until such time as the 
Secretary determines and publishes in the Federal Register with 
an opportunity for comment, an alternative payment system that 
provides payments to institutions in an accurate and timely 
manner, except that this sentence shall not be construed to 
limit the authority of the Secretary to place an institution on 
a reimbursement system of payment.
  (2) Nothing in this section shall be interpreted to prohibit 
the Secretary from paying directly to students, in advance of 
the beginning of the academic term, an amount for which they 
are eligible, in cases where the eligible institution elects 
not to participate in the disbursement system required by 
paragraph (1).
  (3) Grants made under this subpart shall be known as 
``Federal Pell Grants''.
  (b) Purpose and Amount of Grants.--(1) The purpose of this 
subpart is to provide a Federal Pell Grant that in combination 
with reasonable family and student contribution and 
supplemented by the programs authorized under subparts 3 and 4 
of this part, will meet at least 75 percent of a student's cost 
of attendance (as defined in section 472), unless the 
institution determines that a greater amount of assistance 
would better serve the purposes of this section.
  (2)
          (A) The amount of the Federal Pell Grant for a 
        student eligible under this part shall be--
                  (i) the maximum Federal Pell Grant, as 
                specified in the last enacted appropriation Act 
                applicable to that award year, plus
                  (ii) the amount of the increase calculated 
                under paragraph (7)(B) for that year, less
                  (iii) an amount equal to the amount 
                determined to be the expected family 
                contribution with respect to that student for 
                that year.
  (B) In any case where a student attends an institution of 
higher education on less than a full-time basis (including a 
student who attends an institution of higher education on less 
than a half-time basis) during any academic year, the amount of 
the Federal Pell Grant to which that student is entitled shall 
be reduced in proportion to the degree to which that student is 
not so attending on a full-time basis, in accordance with a 
schedule of reductions established by the Secretary for the 
purposes of this division, computed in accordance with this 
subpart. Such schedule of reductions shall be established by 
regulation and published in the Federal Register in accordance 
with section 482 of this Act.
  (3) No Federal Pell Grant under this subpart shall exceed the 
difference between the expected family contribution for a 
student and the cost of attendance (as defined in section 472) 
at the institution at which that student is in attendance. If, 
with respect to any student, it is determined that the amount 
of a Federal Pell Grant plus the amount of the expected family 
contribution for that student exceeds the cost of attendance 
for that year, the amount of the Federal Pell Grant shall be 
reduced until the combination of expected family contribution 
and the amount of the Federal Pell Grant does not exceed the 
cost of attendance at such institution.
  (4) No Federal Pell Grant shall be awarded to a student under 
this subpart if the amount of that grant for that student as 
determined under this subsection for any academic year is less 
than ten percent of the maximum amount of a Federal Pell Grant 
award determined under paragraph (2)(A) for such academic year.
  (5) Notwithstanding any other provision of this subpart, the 
Secretary shall allow the amount of the Federal Pell Grant to 
be exceeded for students participating in a program of study 
abroad approved for credit by the institution at which the 
student is enrolled when the reasonable costs of such program 
are greater than the cost of attendance at the student's home 
institution, except that the amount of such Federal Pell Grant 
in any fiscal year shall not exceed the maximum amount of a 
Federal Pell Grant award determined under paragraph (2)(A), for 
which a student is eligible during such award year. If the 
preceding sentence applies, the financial aid administrator at 
the home institution may use the cost of the study abroad 
program, rather than the home institution's cost, to determine 
the cost of attendance of the student.
  (6) No Federal Pell Grant shall be awarded under this subpart 
to any individual who is incarcerated in any Federal or State 
penal institution or who is subject to an involuntary civil 
commitment upon completion of a period of incarceration for a 
forcible or nonforcible sexual offense (as determined in 
accordance with the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Uniform 
Crime Reporting Program).
          (7) Additional funds.--
                  (A) In general.--There are authorized to be 
                appropriated, and there are appropriated (in 
                addition to any other amounts appropriated to 
                carry out this section and out of any money in 
                the Treasury not otherwise appropriated) the 
                following amounts--
                          (i) $2,030,000,000 for fiscal year 
                        2008;
                          (ii) $2,090,000,000 for fiscal year 
                        2009;
                          (iii) to carry out subparagraph (B) 
                        of this paragraph, such sums as may be 
                        necessary for fiscal year 2010 and each 
                        subsequent fiscal year to provide the 
                        amount of increase of the maximum 
                        Federal Pell Grant required by clauses 
                        (ii) and (iii) of subparagraph (B); and
                          (iv) to carry out this section--
                                  (I) $13,500,000,000 for 
                                fiscal year 2011;
                                  (II) $13,795,000,000 for 
                                fiscal year 2012;
                                  (III) $7,587,000,000 for 
                                fiscal year 2013;
                                  (IV) $588,000,000 for fiscal 
                                year 2014;
                                  (V) $0 for fiscal year 2015;
                                  (VI) $0 for fiscal year 2016;
                                  (VII) $1,574,000,000 for 
                                fiscal year 2017;
                                  (VIII) $1,382,000,000 for 
                                fiscal year 2018;
                                  (IX) $1,409,000,000 for 
                                fiscal year 2019;
                                  (X) $1,430,000,000 for fiscal 
                                year 2020; and
                                  (XI) $1,145,000,000 for 
                                fiscal year 2021 and each 
                                succeeding fiscal year.
                  (B) Increase in federal pell grants.--The 
                amounts made available pursuant to clauses (i) 
                through (iii) of subparagraph (A) of this 
                paragraph shall be used to increase the amount 
                of the maximum Federal Pell Grant for which a 
                student shall be eligible during an award year, 
                as specified in the last enacted appropriation 
                Act applicable to that award year, by--
                          (i) $490 for each of the award years 
                        2008-2009 and 2009-2010;
                          (ii) $690 for each of the award years 
                        2010-2011, 2011-2012, and 2012-2013; 
                        and
                          (iii) the amount determined under 
                        subparagraph (C) for each succeeding 
                        award year.
                  (C) Adjustment amounts.--
                          (i) Award year 2013-2014.--For award 
                        year 2013-2014, the amount determined 
                        under this subparagraph for purposes of 
                        subparagraph (B)(iii) shall be equal 
                        to--
                                  (I) $5,550 or the total 
                                maximum Federal Pell Grant for 
                                the preceding award year (as 
                                determined under clause 
                                (iv)(II)), whichever is 
                                greater, increased by a 
                                percentage equal to the annual 
                                adjustment percentage for award 
                                year 2013-2014, reduced by
                                  (II) $4,860 or the maximum 
                                Federal Pell Grant for which a 
                                student was eligible for the 
                                preceding award year, as 
                                specified in the last enacted 
                                appropriation Act applicable to 
                                that year, whichever is 
                                greater; and
                                  (III) rounded to the nearest 
                                $5.
                          (ii) Award years 2014-2015 through 
                        2017-2018.--For each of the award years 
                        2014-2015 through 2017-2018, the amount 
                        determined under this subparagraph for 
                        purposes of subparagraph (B)(iii) shall 
                        be equal to--
                                  (I) the total maximum Federal 
                                Pell Grant for the preceding 
                                award year (as determined under 
                                clause (iv)(II)), increased by 
                                a percentage equal to the 
                                annual adjustment percentage 
                                for the award year for which 
                                the amount under this 
                                subparagraph is being 
                                determined, reduced by
                                  (II) $4,860 or the maximum 
                                Federal Pell Grant for which a 
                                student was eligible for the 
                                preceding award year, as 
                                specified in the last enacted 
                                appropriation Act applicable to 
                                that year, whichever is 
                                greater; and
                                  (III) rounded to the nearest 
                                $5.
                          (iii) Subsequent award years.--For 
                        award year 2018-2019 and each 
                        subsequent award year, the amount 
                        determined under this subparagraph for 
                        purposes of subparagraph (B)(iii) shall 
                        be equal to the amount determined under 
                        clause (ii) for award year 2017-2018.
                          (iv) Definitions.--For purposes of 
                        this subparagraph--
                                  (I) the term ``annual 
                                adjustment percentage'' as 
                                applied to an award year, is 
                                equal to the estimated 
                                percentage change in the 
                                Consumer Price Index (as 
                                determined by the Secretary, 
                                using the definition in section 
                                478(f)) for the most recent 
                                [calendar year] fiscal year 
                                ending prior to the beginning 
                                of that award year; and
                                  (II) the term ``total maximum 
                                Federal Pell Grant'' as applied 
                                to a preceding award year, is 
                                equal to the sum of--
                                          (aa) the maximum 
                                        Federal Pell Grant for 
                                        which a student is 
                                        eligible during an 
                                        award year, as 
                                        specified in the last 
                                        enacted appropriation 
                                        Act applicable to that 
                                        preceding award year; 
                                        and
                                          (bb) the amount of 
                                        the increase in the 
                                        maximum Federal Pell 
                                        Grant required by this 
                                        paragraph for that 
                                        preceding award year.
                  (D) Program requirements and operations 
                otherwise unaffected.--Except as provided in 
                subparagraphs (B) and (C), nothing in this 
                paragraph shall be construed to alter the 
                requirements and operations of the Federal Pell 
                Grant Program as authorized under this section, 
                or authorize the imposition of additional 
                requirements or operations for the 
                determination and allocation of Federal Pell 
                Grants under this section.
                  (E) Ratable increases and decreases.--The 
                amounts specified in subparagraph (B) shall be 
                ratably increased or decreased to the extent 
                that funds available under subparagraph (A) 
                exceed or are less than (respectively) the 
                amount required to provide the amounts 
                specified in subparagraph (B).
                  (F) Availability of funds.--The amounts made 
                available by subparagraph (A) for any fiscal 
                year shall be available beginning on October 1 
                of that fiscal year, and shall remain available 
                through September 30 of the succeeding fiscal 
                year.
  (c) Period of Eligibility for Grants.--(1) The period during 
which a student may receive Federal Pell Grants shall be the 
period required for the completion of the first undergraduate 
baccalaureate course of study being pursued by that student at 
the institution at which the student is in attendance except 
that any period during which the student is enrolled in a 
noncredit or remedial course of study as defined in paragraph 
(2) shall not be counted for the purpose of this paragraph.
  (2) Nothing in this section shall exclude from eligibility 
courses of study which are noncredit or remedial in nature 
(including courses in English language instruction) which are 
determined by the institution to be necessary to help the 
student be prepared for the pursuit of a first undergraduate 
baccalaureate degree or certificate or, in the case of courses 
in English language instruction, to be necessary to enable the 
student to utilize already existing knowledge, training, or 
skills. Nothing in this section shall exclude from eligibility 
programs of study abroad that are approved for credit by the 
home institution at which the student is enrolled.
  (3) No student is entitled to receive Pell Grant payments 
concurrently from more than one institution or from the 
Secretary and an institution.
  (4) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), the Secretary may allow, 
on a case-by-case basis, a student to receive a basic grant if 
the student--
          (A) is carrying at least one-half the normal full-
        time work load for the course of study the student is 
        pursuing, as determined by the institution of higher 
        education; and
          (B) is enrolled or accepted for enrollment in a 
        postbaccalaureate program that does not lead to a 
        graduate degree, and in courses required by a State in 
        order for the student to receive a professional 
        certification or licensing credential that is required 
        for employment as a teacher in an elementary school or 
        secondary school in that State,
except that this paragraph shall not apply to a student who is 
enrolled in an institution of higher education that offers a 
baccalaureate degree in education.
  (5) The period during which a student may receive Federal 
Pell Grants shall not exceed 12 semesters, or the equivalent of 
12 semesters, as determined by the Secretary by regulation. 
Such regulations shall provide, with respect to a student who 
received a Federal Pell Grant for a term but was enrolled at a 
fraction of full-time, that only that same fraction of such 
semester or equivalent shall count towards such duration 
limits.
  (d) Applications for Grants.--(1) The Secretary shall from 
time to time set dates by which students shall file 
applications for Federal Pell Grants under this subpart.
  (2) Each student desiring a Federal Pell Grant for any year 
shall file an application therefor containing such information 
and assurances as the Secretary may deem necessary to enable 
the Secretary to carry out the functions and responsibilities 
of this subpart.
  (e) Distribution of Grants to Students.--Payments under this 
section shall be made in accordance with regulations 
promulgated by the Secretary for such purpose, in such manner 
as will best accomplish the purpose of this section. Any 
disbursement allowed to be made by crediting the student's 
account shall be limited to tuition and fees and, in the case 
of institutionally owned housing, room and board. The student 
may elect to have the institution provide other such goods and 
services by crediting the student's account.
  (f) Calculation of Eligibility.--(1) Each contractor 
processing applications for awards under this subpart 
(including a central processor, if any, designated by the 
Secretary) shall, in a timely manner, furnish to the student 
financial aid administrator (at each institution of higher 
education which a student awarded a Federal Pell Grant under 
this subpart is attending), as a part of its regular output 
document, the expected family contribution for each such 
student. Each such student financial aid administrator shall--
          (A) examine and assess the data used to calculate the 
        expected family contribution of the student furnished 
        pursuant to this subsection;
          (B) recalculate the expected family contribution of 
        the student if there has been a change in circumstances 
        of the student or in the data submitted;
          (C) make the award to the student in the correct 
        amount; and
          (D) after making such award report the corrected data 
        to such contractor and to a central processor (if any) 
        designated by the Secretary for a confirmation of the 
        correct computation of amount of the expected family 
        contribution for each such student.
  (2) Whenever a student receives an award under this subpart 
that, due to recalculation errors by the institution of higher 
education, is in excess of the amount which the student is 
entitled to receive under this subpart, such institution of 
higher education shall pay to the Secretary the amount of such 
excess unless such excess can be resolved in a subsequent 
disbursement to the institution.
  (3) Each contractor processing applications for awards under 
this subpart shall for each academic year after academic year 
1986-1987 prepare and submit a report to the Secretary on the 
correctness of the computations of amount of the expected 
family contribution, and on the accuracy of the questions on 
the application form under this subpart for the previous 
academic year for which the contractor is responsible. The 
Secretary shall transmit the report, together with the comments 
and recommendations of the Secretary, to the Committee on 
Appropriations of the Senate, the Committee on Appropriations 
of the House of Representatives, and the authorizing 
committees.
  (g) Insufficient Appropriations.--If, for any fiscal year, 
the funds appropriated for payments under this subpart are 
insufficient to satisfy fully all entitlements, as calculated 
under subsection (b) (but at the maximum grant level specified 
in such appropriation), the Secretary shall promptly transmit a 
notice of such insufficiency to each House of the Congress, and 
identify in such notice the additional amount that would be 
required to be appropriated to satisfy fully all entitlements 
(as so calculated at such maximum grant level).
  (h) Use of Excess Funds.--(1) If, at the end of a fiscal 
year, the funds available for making payments under this 
subpart exceed the amount necessary to make the payments 
required under this subpart to eligible students by 15 percent 
or less, then all of the excess funds shall remain available 
for making payments under this subpart during the next 
succeeding fiscal year.
  (2) If, at the end of a fiscal year, the funds available for 
making payments under this subpart exceed the amount necessary 
to make the payments required under this subpart to eligible 
students by more than 15 percent, then all of such funds shall 
remain available for making such payments but payments may be 
made under this paragraph only with respect to entitlements for 
that fiscal year.
  (i) Treatment of Institutions and Students Under Other 
Laws.--Any institution of higher education which enters into an 
agreement with the Secretary to disburse to students attending 
that institution the amounts those students are eligible to 
receive under this subpart shall not be deemed, by virtue of 
such agreement, a contractor maintaining a system of records to 
accomplish a function of the Secretary. Recipients of Pell 
Grants shall not be considered to be individual grantees for 
purposes of subtitle D of title V of Public Law 100-690.
  (j) Institutional Ineligibility Based on Default Rates.--
          (1) In general.--No institution of higher education 
        shall be an eligible institution for purposes of this 
        subpart if such institution of higher education is 
        ineligible to participate in a loan program under part 
        B or D as a result of a final default rate 
        determination made by the Secretary under part B or D 
        after the final publication of cohort default rates for 
        fiscal year 1996 or a succeeding fiscal year.
          (2) Sanctions subject to appeal opportunity.--No 
        institution may be subject to the terms of this 
        subsection unless the institution has had the 
        opportunity to appeal the institution's default rate 
        determination under regulations issued by the Secretary 
        for the loan program authorized under part B or D, as 
        applicable. This subsection shall not apply to an 
        institution that was not participating in the loan 
        program authorized under part B or D on the date of 
        enactment of the Higher Education Amendments of 1998, 
        unless the institution subsequently participates in the 
        loan programs.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


PART F--NEED ANALYSIS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SEC. 480. DEFINITIONS.

  As used in this part:
  (a) Total Income.--(1)(A) Except as provided in subparagraph 
(B) and paragraph (2), the term ``total income'' is equal to 
adjusted gross income plus untaxed income and benefits for the 
preceding tax year minus excludable income (as defined in 
subsection (e)).
  (B) Notwithstanding section 478(a), the Secretary [may] shall 
provide for the use of data from the second preceding tax year 
when and to the extent necessary to carry out the 
simplification of applications (including simplification for a 
subset of applications) used for the estimation and 
determination of financial aid eligibility. Such simplification 
[may] shall include the sharing of data between the Internal 
Revenue Service and the Department, pursuant to the consent of 
the taxpayer.
  (2) No portion of any student financial assistance received 
from any program by an individual, no portion of veterans' 
education benefits received by an individual, no portion of a 
national service educational award or post-service benefit 
received by an individual under title I of the National and 
Community Service Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12511 et seq.), no 
portion of any tax credit taken under section 25A of the 
Internal Revenue Code of 1986, and no distribution from any 
qualified education benefit described in subsection (f)(3) that 
is not subject to Federal income tax, shall be included as 
income or assets in the computation of expected family 
contribution for any program funded in whole or in part under 
this Act.
  (b) Untaxed Income and Benefits.--
          (1) The term ``untaxed income and benefits'' means--
                  (A) child support received;
                  (B) workman's compensation;
                  (C) veteran's benefits such as death pension, 
                dependency, and indemnity compensation, but 
                excluding veterans' education benefits as 
                defined in subsection (c);
                  (D) interest on tax-free bonds;
                  (E) housing, food, and other allowances 
                (excluding rent subsidies for low-income 
                housing) for military, clergy, and others 
                (including cash payments and cash value of 
                benefits), except that the value of on-base 
                military housing or the value of basic 
                allowance for housing determined under section 
                403(b) of title 37, United States Code, 
                received by the parents, in the case of a 
                dependent student, or the student or student's 
                spouse, in the case of an independent student, 
                shall be excluded;
                  (F) cash support or any money paid on the 
                student`s behalf, except, for dependent 
                students, funds provided by the student's 
                parents;
                  (G) untaxed portion of pensions;
                  (H) payments to individual retirement 
                accounts and Keogh accounts excluded from 
                income for Federal income tax purposes; and
                  (I) any other untaxed income and benefits, 
                such as Black Lung Benefits, Refugee 
                Assistance, or railroad retirement benefits, or 
                benefits received through participation in 
                employment and training activities under title 
                I of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (29 
                U.S.C. 2801 et seq.).
          (2) The term ``untaxed income and benefits'' shall 
        not include--
                  (A) the amount of additional child tax credit 
                claimed for Federal income tax purposes;
                  (B) welfare benefits, including assistance 
                under a State program funded under part A of 
                title IV of the Social Security Act and aid to 
                dependent children;
                  (C) the amount of earned income credit 
                claimed for Federal income tax purposes;
                  (D) the amount of credit for Federal tax on 
                special fuels claimed for Federal income tax 
                purposes;
                  (E) the amount of foreign income excluded for 
                purposes of Federal income taxes; or
                  (F) untaxed social security benefits.
  (c) Veteran and Veterans' Education Benefits.--(1) The term 
``veteran'' means any individual who--
          (A) has engaged in the active duty in the United 
        States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or Coast Guard; 
        and
          (B) was released under a condition other than 
        dishonorable.
  (2) The term ``veterans' education benefits'' means veterans' 
benefits the student will receive during the award year, 
including but not limited to benefits under the following 
provisions of law:
          (A) Chapter 103 of title 10, United States Code 
        (Senior Reserve Officers' Training Corps).
          (B) Chapter 106A of title 10, United States Code 
        (Educational Assistance for Persons Enlisting for 
        Active Duty).
          (C) Chapter 1606 of title 10, United States Code 
        (Selected Reserve Educational Assistance Program).
          (D) Chapter 1607 of title 10, United States Code 
        (Educational Assistance Program for Reserve Component 
        Members Supporting Contingency Operations and Certain 
        Other Operations).
          (E) Chapter 30 of title 38, United States Code (All-
        Volunteer Force Educational Assistance Program, also 
        known as the ``Montgomery GI Bill--active duty'').
          (F) Chapter 31 of title 38, United States Code 
        (Training and Rehabilitation for Veterans with Service-
        Connected Disabilities).
          (G) Chapter 32 of title 38, United States Code (Post-
        Vietnam Era Veterans' Educational Assistance Program).
          (H) Chapter 33 of title 38, United States Code (Post-
        9/11 Educational Assistance).
          (I) Chapter 35 of title 38, United States Code 
        (Survivors' and Dependents' Educational Assistance 
        Program).
          (J) Section 903 of the Department of Defense 
        Authorization Act, 1981 (10 U.S.C. 2141 note) 
        (Educational Assistance Pilot Program).
          (K) Section 156(b) of the ``Joint Resolution making 
        further continuing appropriations and providing for 
        productive employment for the fiscal year 1983, and for 
        other purposes'' (42 U.S.C. 402 note) (Restored 
        Entitlement Program for Survivors, also known as 
        ``Quayle benefits'').
          (L) The provisions of chapter 3 of title 37, United 
        States Code, related to subsistence allowances for 
        members of the Reserve Officers Training Corps.
  (d) Independent Student.--
          (1) Definition.--The term ``independent'', when used 
        with respect to a student, means any individual who--
                  (A) is 24 years of age or older by December 
                31 of the award year;
                  (B) is an orphan, in foster care, or a ward 
                of the court, or was an orphan, in foster care, 
                or a ward of the court at any time when the 
                individual was 13 years of age or older;
                  (C) is, or was immediately prior to attaining 
                the age of majority, an emancipated minor or in 
                legal guardianship as determined by a court of 
                competent jurisdiction in the individual's 
                State of legal residence;
                  (D) is a veteran of the Armed Forces of the 
                United States (as defined in subsection (c)(1)) 
                or is currently serving on active duty in the 
                Armed Forces for other than training purposes;
                  (E) is a graduate or professional student;
                  (F) is a married individual;
                  (G) has legal dependents other than a spouse;
                  (H) has been verified during the school year 
                in which the application is submitted as either 
                an unaccompanied youth who is a homeless child 
                or youth (as such terms are defined in section 
                725 of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance 
                Act), or as unaccompanied, at risk of 
                homelessness, and self-supporting, by--
                          (i) a local educational agency 
                        homeless liaison, designated pursuant 
                        to section 722(g)(1)(J)(ii) of the 
                        McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act;
                          (ii) the director of a program funded 
                        under the Runaway and Homeless Youth 
                        Act or a designee of the director;
                          (iii) the director of a program 
                        funded under subtitle B of title IV of 
                        the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance 
                        Act (relating to emergency shelter 
                        grants) or a designee of the director; 
                        or
                          (iv) a financial aid administrator; 
                        or
                  (I) is a student for whom a financial aid 
                administrator makes a documented determination 
                of independence by reason of other unusual 
                circumstances.
          (2) Simplifying the dependency override process.--A 
        financial aid administrator may make a determination of 
        independence under paragraph (1)(I) based upon a 
        documented determination of independence that was 
        previously made by another financial aid administrator 
        under such paragraph in the same award year.
  (e) Excludable Income.--The term ``excludable income'' 
means--
          (1) any student financial assistance awarded based on 
        need as determined in accordance with the provisions of 
        this part, including any income earned from work under 
        part C of this title;
          (2) any income earned from work under a cooperative 
        education program offered by an institution of higher 
        education;
          (3) any living allowance received by a participant in 
        a program established under the National and Community 
        Service Act of 1990;
          (4) child support payments made by the student or 
        parent;
          (5) payments made and services provided under part E 
        of title IV of the Social Security Act; and
          (6) special combat pay.
  (f) Assets.--(1) The term ``assets'' means cash on hand, 
including the amount in checking and savings accounts, time 
deposits, money market funds, trusts, stocks, bonds, other 
securities, mutual funds, tax shelters, qualified education 
benefits (except as provided in paragraph (3)), and the net 
value of real estate, income producing property, and business 
and farm assets.
  (2) With respect to determinations of need under this title, 
other than for subpart 4 of part A, the term ``assets'' shall 
not include the net value of--
          (A) the family's principal place of residence;
          (B) a family farm on which the family resides; or
          (C) a small business with not more than 100 full-time 
        or full-time equivalent employees (or any part of such 
        a small business) that is owned and controlled by the 
        family.
          (3) A qualified education benefit shall be considered 
        an asset of--
                  (A) the student if the student is an 
                independent student; or
                  (B) the parent if the student is a dependent 
                student, regardless of whether the owner of the 
                account is the student or the parent.
  (4) In determining the value of assets in a determination of 
need under this title (other than for subpart 4 of part A), the 
value of a qualified education benefit shall be--
          (A) the refund value of any tuition credits or 
        certificates purchased under a qualified education 
        benefit; and
          (B) in the case of a program in which contributions 
        are made to an account that is established for the 
        purpose of meeting the qualified higher education 
        expenses of the designated beneficiary of the account, 
        the current balance of such account.
  (5) In this subsection:
          (A) The term ``qualified education benefit'' means--
                  (i) a qualified tuition program (as defined 
                in section 529(b)(1)(A) of the Internal Revenue 
                Code of 1986) or other prepaid tuition plan 
                offered by a State; and
                  (ii) a Coverdell education savings account 
                (as defined in section 530(b)(1) of the 
                Internal Revenue Code of 1986).
          (B) The term ``qualified higher education expenses'' 
        has the meaning given the term in section 529(e) of the 
        Internal Revenue Code of 1986.
  (g) Net Assets.--The term ``net assets'' means the current 
market value at the time of application of the assets (as 
defined in subsection (f)), minus the outstanding liabilities 
or indebtedness against the assets.
  (h) Treatment of Income Taxes Paid to Other Jurisdictions.--
(1) The tax on income paid to the Governments of the 
Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the Virgin 
Islands, or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, 
the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of 
Micronesia, or Palau under the laws applicable to those 
jurisdictions, or the comparable tax paid to the central 
government of a foreign country, shall be treated as Federal 
income taxes.
  (2) References in this part to the Internal Revenue Code of 
1986, Federal income tax forms, and the Internal Revenue 
Service shall, for purposes of the tax described in paragraph 
(1), be treated as references to the corresponding laws, tax 
forms, and tax collection agencies of those jurisdictions, 
respectively, subject to such adjustments as the Secretary may 
provide by regulation.
  (i) Current Balance.--The term ``current balance of checking 
and savings accounts'' does not include any funds over which an 
individual is barred from exercising discretion and control 
because of the actions of any State in declaring a bank 
emergency due to the insolvency of a private deposit insurance 
fund.
  (j) Other Financial Assistance.--(1) For purposes of 
determining a student's eligibility for funds under this title, 
estimated financial assistance not received under this title 
shall include all scholarships, grants, loans, or other 
assistance known to the institution at the time the 
determination of the student's need is made, including national 
service educational awards or post-service benefits under title 
I of the National and Community Service Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 
12511 et seq.), but excluding veterans' education benefits as 
defined in subsection (c).
  (2) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), a tax credit taken under 
section 25A of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, or a 
distribution that is not includable in gross income under 
section 529 of such Code, under another prepaid tuition plan 
offered by a State, or under a Coverdell education savings 
account under section 530 of such Code, shall not be treated as 
estimated financial assistance for purposes of section 471(3).
  (3) Notwithstanding paragraph (1) and section 472, assistance 
not received under this title may be excluded from both 
estimated financial assistance and cost of attendance, if that 
assistance is provided by a State and is designated by such 
State to offset a specific component of the cost of attendance. 
If that assistance is excluded from either estimated financial 
assistance or cost of attendance, it shall be excluded from 
both.
          (4) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), special combat pay 
        shall not be treated as estimated financial assistance 
        for purposes of section 471(3).
  (k) Dependents.--(1) Except as otherwise provided, the term 
``dependent of the parent'' means the student, dependent 
children of the student's parents, including those children who 
are deemed to be dependent students when applying for aid under 
this title, and other persons who live with and receive more 
than one-half of their support from the parent and will 
continue to receive more than half of their support from the 
parent during the award year.
  (2) Except as otherwise provided, the term ``dependent of the 
student'' means the student's dependent children and other 
persons (except the student's spouse) who live with and receive 
more than one-half of their support from the student and will 
continue to receive more than half of their support from the 
student during the award year.
  (l) Family Size.--(1) In determining family size in the case 
of a dependent student--
          (A) if the parents are not divorced or separated, 
        family members include the student's parents, and the 
        dependents of the student's parents including the 
        student;
          (B) if the parents are divorced or separated, family 
        members include the parent whose income is included in 
        computing available income and that parent's 
        dependents, including the student; and
          (C) if the parents are divorced and the parent whose 
        income is so included is remarried, or if the parent 
        was a widow or widower who has remarried, family 
        members also include, in addition to those individuals 
        referred to in subparagraph (B), the new spouse and any 
        dependents of the new spouse if that spouse's income is 
        included in determining the parents' adjusted available 
        income.
  (2) In determining family size in the case of an independent 
student--
          (A) family members include the student, the student's 
        spouse, and the dependents of the student; and
          (B) if the student is divorced or separated, family 
        members do not include the spouse (or ex-spouse), but 
        do include the student and the student's dependents.
  (m) Business Assets.--The term ``business assets'' means 
property that is used in the operation of a trade or business, 
including real estate, inventories, buildings, machinery, and 
other equipment, patents, franchise rights, and copyrights.
  (n) Special Combat Pay.--The term ``special combat pay'' 
means pay received by a member of the Armed Forces because of 
exposure to a hazardous situation.

Part G--General Provisions Relating to Student Assistance Programs

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



SEC. 483. FORMS AND REGULATIONS.

  (a) Common Financial Aid Form Development and Processing.--
          (1) In general.--The Secretary, in cooperation with 
        representatives of agencies and organizations involved 
        in student financial assistance, shall produce, 
        distribute, and process free of charge common financial 
        reporting forms as described in this subsection to be 
        used for application and reapplication to determine the 
        need and eligibility of a student for financial 
        assistance under parts A through E (other than subpart 
        4 of part A). The forms shall be made available to 
        applicants in both paper and electronic formats and 
        shall be referred to as the ``Free Application for 
        Federal Student Aid'' or the ``FAFSA''. The Secretary 
        shall work to make the FAFSA consumer-friendly and to 
        make questions on the FAFSA easy for students and 
        families to read and understand, and shall ensure that 
        the FAFSA is available in formats accessible to 
        individuals with disabilities.
          (2) Paper format.--
                  (A) In general.--The Secretary shall develop, 
                make available, and process--
                          (i) a paper version of EZ FAFSA, as 
                        described in subparagraph (B); and
                          (ii) a paper version of the other 
                        forms described in this subsection, in 
                        accordance with subparagraph (C), for 
                        any applicant who does not meet the 
                        requirements of or does not wish to use 
                        the process described in subparagraph 
                        (B).
                  (B) EZ fafsa.--
                          (i) In general.--The Secretary shall 
                        develop and use, after appropriate 
                        field testing, a simplified paper form, 
                        to be known as the EZ FAFSA, to be used 
                        for applicants meeting the requirements 
                        of subsection (b) or (c) of section 
                        479.
                          (ii) Reduced data requirements.--The 
                        EZ FAFSA shall permit an applicant to 
                        submit, for financial assistance 
                        purposes, only the data elements 
                        required to make a determination of 
                        whether the applicant meets the 
                        requirements under subsection (b) or 
                        (c) of section 479.
                          (iii) State data.--The Secretary 
                        shall include on the EZ FAFSA such data 
                        items as may be necessary to award 
                        State financial assistance, as provided 
                        under paragraph (5), except that the 
                        Secretary shall not include a State's 
                        data if that State does not permit the 
                        State's resident applicants to use the 
                        EZ FAFSA for State assistance.
                          (iv) Free availability and 
                        processing.--The provisions of 
                        paragraph (6) shall apply to the EZ 
                        FAFSA, and the data collected by means 
                        of the EZ FAFSA shall be available to 
                        institutions of higher education, 
                        guaranty agencies, and States in 
                        accordance with paragraph (10).
                  (C) Promoting the use of electronic fafsa.--
                          (i) In general.--The Secretary shall 
                        make all efforts to encourage all 
                        applicants to utilize the electronic 
                        version of the forms described in 
                        paragraph (3).
                          (ii) Maintenance of the fafsa in a 
                        printable electronic file.--The 
                        Secretary shall maintain a version of 
                        the paper forms described in 
                        subparagraphs (A) and (B) in a 
                        printable electronic file that is 
                        easily portable, accessible, and 
                        downloadable to students on the same 
                        website used to provide students with 
                        the electronic version of the forms 
                        described in paragraph (3).
                          (iii) Requests for printed copy.--The 
                        Secretary shall provide a printed copy 
                        of the full paper version of FAFSA upon 
                        request.
                          (iv) Reporting requirement.--The 
                        Secretary shall maintain data, and 
                        periodically report to Congress, on the 
                        impact of the digital divide on 
                        students completing applications for 
                        aid under this title. The Secretary 
                        shall report on the steps taken to 
                        eliminate the digital divide and reduce 
                        production of the paper form described 
                        in subparagraph (A). The Secretary's 
                        report shall specifically address the 
                        impact of the digital divide on the 
                        following student populations:
                                  (I) Independent students.
                                  (II) Traditionally 
                                underrepresented students.
                                  (III) Dependent students.
          (3) Electronic format.--
                  (A) In general.--The Secretary shall produce, 
                distribute, and process forms in electronic 
                format to meet the requirements of paragraph 
                (1). The Secretary shall develop an electronic 
                version of the forms for applicants who do not 
                meet the requirements of subsection (b) or (c) 
                of section 479.
                  (B) Simplified applications: fafsa on the 
                web.--
                          (i) In general.--The Secretary shall 
                        develop and use a simplified electronic 
                        version of the form to be used by 
                        applicants meeting the requirements 
                        under subsection (b) or (c) of section 
                        479.
                          (ii) Reduced data requirements.--The 
                        simplified electronic version of the 
                        forms shall permit an applicant to 
                        submit, for financial assistance 
                        purposes, only the data elements 
                        required to make a determination of 
                        whether the applicant meets the 
                        requirements under subsection (b) or 
                        (c) of section 479.
                          (iii) Use of forms.--Nothing in this 
                        subsection shall be construed to 
                        prohibit the use of the forms developed 
                        by the Secretary pursuant to this 
                        paragraph by an eligible institution, 
                        eligible lender, guaranty agency, State 
                        grant agency, private computer software 
                        provider, a consortium thereof, or such 
                        other entities as the Secretary may 
                        designate.
                  (C) State data.--The Secretary shall include 
                on the electronic version of the forms such 
                items as may be necessary to determine 
                eligibility for State financial assistance, as 
                provided under paragraph (5), except that the 
                Secretary shall not require an applicant to 
                enter data pursuant to this subparagraph that 
                are required by any State other than the 
                applicant's State of residence.
                  (D) Availability and processing.--The data 
                collected by means of the simplified electronic 
                version of the forms shall be available to 
                institutions of higher education, guaranty 
                agencies, and States in accordance with 
                paragraph (10).
                  (E) Privacy.--The Secretary shall ensure that 
                data collection under this paragraph complies 
                with section 552a of title 5, United States 
                Code, and that any entity using the electronic 
                version of the forms developed by the Secretary 
                pursuant to this paragraph shall maintain 
                reasonable and appropriate administrative, 
                technical, and physical safeguards to ensure 
                the integrity and confidentiality of the 
                information, and to protect against security 
                threats, or unauthorized uses or disclosures of 
                the information provided on the electronic 
                version of the forms. Data collected by such 
                electronic version of the forms shall be used 
                only for the application, award, and 
                administration of aid awarded under this title, 
                State aid, or aid awarded by eligible 
                institutions or such entities as the Secretary 
                may designate. No data collected by such 
                electronic version of the forms shall be used 
                for making final aid awards under this title 
                until such data have been processed by the 
                Secretary or a contractor or designee of the 
                Secretary, except as may be permitted under 
                this title.
                  (F) Signature.--Notwithstanding any other 
                provision of this Act, the Secretary may 
                continue to permit an electronic version of the 
                form under this paragraph to be submitted 
                without a signature, if a signature is 
                subsequently submitted by the applicant or if 
                the applicant uses a personal identification 
                number provided by the Secretary under 
                subparagraph (G).
                  (G) Personal identification numbers 
                authorized.--The Secretary may continue to 
                assign to an applicant a personal 
                identification number--
                          (i) to enable the applicant to use 
                        such number as a signature for purposes 
                        of completing an electronic version of 
                        a form developed under this paragraph; 
                        and
                          (ii) for any purpose determined by 
                        the Secretary to enable the Secretary 
                        to carry out this title.
                  (H) Personal identification number 
                improvement.--The Secretary shall continue to 
                work with the Commissioner of Social Security 
                to minimize the time required for an applicant 
                to obtain a personal identification number when 
                applying for aid under this title through an 
                electronic version of a form developed under 
                this paragraph.
                  (I) Format.--Not later than 180 days after 
                the date of the enactment of the Simplifying 
                the Application for Student Aid Act, the 
                Secretary shall make the electronic version of 
                the forms under this paragraph available 
                through a technology tool that can be used on 
                mobile devices. Such technology tool shall, at 
                minimum, enable applicants to--
                          (i) save data; and
                          (ii) submit their FAFSA to the 
                        Secretary through such tool.
                  (J) Consumer testing.--In developing and 
                maintaining the electronic version of the forms 
                under this paragraph and the technology tool 
                for mobile devices under subparagraph (I), the 
                Secretary shall conduct consumer testing with 
                appropriate persons to ensure the forms and 
                technology tool are designed to be easily 
                usable and understandable by students and 
                families. Such consumer testing shall include--
                          (i) current and prospective college 
                        students, family members of such 
                        students, and other individuals with 
                        expertise in student financial 
                        assistance application processes;
                          (ii) dependent students and 
                        independent students meeting the 
                        requirements under subsection (b) or 
                        (c) of section 479; and
                          (iii) dependent students and 
                        independent students who do not meet 
                        the requirements under subsection (b) 
                        or (c) of section 479.
          (4) Streamlining.--
                  (A) Streamlined reapplication process.--
                          (i) In general.--The Secretary shall 
                        continue to streamline reapplication 
                        forms and processes for an applicant 
                        who applies for financial assistance 
                        under this title in the next succeeding 
                        academic year subsequent to an academic 
                        year for which such applicant applied 
                        for financial assistance under this 
                        title.
                          (ii) Updating of data elements.--The 
                        Secretary shall determine, in 
                        cooperation with States, institutions 
                        of higher education, agencies, and 
                        organizations involved in student 
                        financial assistance, the data elements 
                        that may be transferred from the 
                        previous academic year's application 
                        and those data elements that shall be 
                        updated.
                          (iii) Reduced data authorized.--
                        Nothing in this title shall be 
                        construed as limiting the authority of 
                        the Secretary to reduce the number of 
                        data elements required of reapplicants.
                          (iv) Zero family contribution.--
                        Applicants determined to have a zero 
                        family contribution pursuant to section 
                        479(c) shall not be required to provide 
                        any financial data in a reapplication 
                        form, except data that are necessary to 
                        determine eligibility under such 
                        section.
                  (B) Reduction of data elements.--
                          (i) Reduction encouraged.--Of the 
                        number of data elements on the FAFSA 
                        used for the 2009-2010 award year, the 
                        Secretary, in cooperation with 
                        representatives of agencies and 
                        organizations involved in student 
                        financial assistance and consistent 
                        with efforts under subsection (c), 
                        shall continue to reduce the number of 
                        such data elements required to be 
                        entered by all applicants, with the 
                        goal of reducing such number by 50 
                        percent.
                          (ii) Report.--The Secretary shall 
                        submit a report on the process of this 
                        reduction to each of the authorizing 
                        committees by June 30, 2011.
          (5) State requirements.--
                  (A) In general.--Except as provided in 
                paragraphs (2)(B)(iii), (3)(B), and (4)(A)(ii), 
                the Secretary shall include on the forms 
                developed under this subsection, such State-
                specific data items as the Secretary determines 
                are necessary to meet State requirements for 
                need-based State aid. Such items shall be 
                selected in consultation with State agencies in 
                order to assist in the awarding of State 
                financial assistance in accordance with the 
                terms of this subsection. The number of such 
                data items shall not be less than the number 
                included on the form for the 2008-2009 award 
                year unless a State notifies the Secretary that 
                the State no longer requires those data items 
                for the distribution of State need-based aid.
                  (B) Annual review.--The Secretary shall 
                conduct an annual review to determine--
                          (i) which data items each State 
                        requires to award need-based State aid; 
                        and
                          (ii) if the State will permit an 
                        applicant to file a form described in 
                        paragraph (2)(B) or (3)(B).
                  (C) Federal register notice.--Beginning with 
                the forms developed under paragraphs (2)(B) and 
                (3)(B) for the award year 2010-2011, the 
                Secretary shall publish on an annual basis a 
                notice in the Federal Register requiring State 
                agencies to inform the Secretary--
                          (i) if the State agency is unable to 
                        permit applicants to utilize the 
                        simplified forms described in 
                        paragraphs (2)(B) and (3)(B); and
                          (ii) of the State-specific 
                        nonfinancial data that the State agency 
                        requires for delivery of State need-
                        based financial aid.
                  (D) Use of simplified forms encouraged.--The 
                Secretary shall encourage States to take such 
                steps as are necessary to encourage the use of 
                simplified forms under this subsection, 
                including those forms described in paragraphs 
                (2)(B) and (3)(B), for applicants who meet the 
                requirements of subsection (b) or (c) of 
                section 479.
                  (E) Consequences if state does not accept 
                simplified forms.--If a State does not permit 
                an applicant to file a form described in 
                paragraph (2)(B) or (3)(B) for purposes of 
                determining eligibility for State need-based 
                financial aid, the Secretary may determine that 
                State-specific questions for such State will 
                not be included on a form described in 
                paragraph (2)(B) or (3)(B). If the Secretary 
                makes such determination, the Secretary shall 
                advise the State of the Secretary's 
                determination.
                  (F) Lack of state response to request for 
                information.--If a State does not respond to 
                the Secretary's request for information under 
                subparagraph (B), the Secretary shall--
                          (i) permit residents of that State to 
                        complete simplified forms under 
                        paragraphs (2)(B) and (3)(B); and
                          (ii) not require any resident of such 
                        State to complete any data items 
                        previously required by that State under 
                        this section.
                  (G) Restriction.--The Secretary shall, to the 
                extent practicable, not require applicants to 
                complete any financial or nonfinancial data 
                items that are not required--
                          (i) by the applicant's State; or
                          (ii) by the Secretary.
          (6) Charges to students and parents for use of forms 
        prohibited.--The need and eligibility of a student for 
        financial assistance under parts A through E (other 
        than under subpart 4 of part A) may be determined only 
        by using a form developed by the Secretary under this 
        subsection. Such forms shall be produced, distributed, 
        and processed by the Secretary, and no parent or 
        student shall be charged a fee by the Secretary, a 
        contractor, a third-party servicer or private software 
        provider, or any other public or private entity for the 
        collection, processing, or delivery of financial aid 
        through the use of such forms. No data collected on a 
        form for which a fee is charged shall be used to 
        complete the form prescribed under this section, except 
        that a Federal or State income tax form prepared by a 
        paid income tax preparer or preparer service for the 
        primary purpose of filing a Federal or State income tax 
        return may be used to complete the form prescribed 
        under this section.
          (7) Restrictions on use of pin.--No person, 
        commercial entity, or other entity may request, obtain, 
        or utilize an applicant's personal identification 
        number assigned under paragraph (3)(G) for purposes of 
        submitting a form developed under this subsection on an 
        applicant's behalf.
          (8) Application processing cycle.--The Secretary 
        shall enable students to submit forms developed under 
        this subsection and initiate the processing of such 
        forms under this subsection, as early as practicable 
        prior to January 1 of the student's planned year of 
        enrollment.
          (9) Early estimates.--The Secretary shall continue 
        to--
                  (A) permit applicants to enter data in such 
                forms as described in this subsection in the 
                years prior to enrollment in order to obtain a 
                non-binding estimate of the applicant's family 
                contribution (as defined in section 473);
                  (B) permit applicants to update information 
                submitted on forms described in this 
                subsection, without needing to re-enter 
                previously submitted information;
                  (C) develop a means to inform applicants, in 
                the years prior to enrollment, of student aid 
                options for individuals in similar financial 
                situations;
                  (D) develop a means to provide a clear and 
                conspicuous notice that the applicant's 
                expected family contribution is subject to 
                change and may not reflect the final expected 
                family contribution used to determine Federal 
                student financial aid award amounts under this 
                title; and
                  (E) consult with representatives of States, 
                institutions of higher education, and other 
                individuals with experience or expertise in 
                student financial assistance application 
                processes in making updates to forms used to 
                provide early estimates under this paragraph.
          (10) Distribution of data.--Institutions of higher 
        education, guaranty agencies, and States shall receive, 
        without charge, the data collected by the Secretary 
        using a form developed under this subsection for the 
        purposes of processing loan applications and 
        determining need and eligibility for institutional and 
        State financial aid awards. Entities designated by 
        institutions of higher education, guaranty agencies, or 
        States to receive such data shall be subject to all the 
        requirements of this section, unless such requirements 
        are waived by the Secretary.
          (11) Third party servicers and private software 
        providers.--To the extent practicable and in a timely 
        manner, the Secretary shall provide, to private 
        organizations and consortia that develop software used 
        by institutions of higher education for the 
        administration of funds under this title, all the 
        necessary specifications that the organizations and 
        consortia must meet for the software the organizations 
        and consortia develop, produce, and distribute 
        (including any diskette, modem, or network 
        communications) to be so used. The specifications shall 
        contain record layouts for required data. The Secretary 
        shall develop in advance of each processing cycle an 
        annual schedule for providing such specifications. The 
        Secretary, to the extent practicable, shall use 
        multiple means of providing such specifications, 
        including conferences and other meetings, outreach, and 
        technical support mechanisms (such as training and 
        printed reference materials). The Secretary shall, from 
        time to time, solicit from such organizations and 
        consortia means of improving the support provided by 
        the Secretary.
          (12) Parent's social security number and birth 
        date.--The Secretary is authorized to include space on 
        the forms developed under this subsection for the 
        social security number and birth date of parents of 
        dependent students seeking financial assistance under 
        this title.
  (b) Information to Committees of Congress.--Copies of all 
rules, regulations, guidelines, instructions, and application 
forms published or promulgated pursuant to this title shall be 
provided to the authorizing committees at least 45 days prior 
to their effective date.
  (c) Toll-Free Information.--The Secretary shall contract for, 
or establish, and publicize a toll-free telephone service to 
provide timely and accurate information to the general public. 
The information provided shall include specific instructions on 
completing the application form for assistance under this 
title. Such service shall also include a service accessible by 
telecommunications devices for the deaf (TDD's) and shall, in 
addition to the services provided for in the previous sentence, 
refer such students to the national clearinghouse on 
postsecondary education or other appropriate provider of 
technical assistance and information on postsecondary 
educational services for individuals with disabilities, 
including the National Technical Assistance Center under 
section 777. The Secretary shall continue to implement, to the 
extent practicable, a toll-free telephone based system to 
permit applicants who meet the requirements of subsection (b) 
or (c) of section 479 to submit an application over such 
system.
  (d) Assistance in Preparation of Financial Aid Application.--
          (1) Preparation authorized.--Notwithstanding any 
        provision of this Act, an applicant may use a preparer 
        for consultative or preparation services for the 
        completion of a form developed under subsection (a) if 
        the preparer satisfies the requirements of this 
        subsection.
          (2) Preparer identification required.--If an 
        applicant uses a preparer for consultative or 
        preparation services for the completion of a form 
        developed under subsection (a), and for which a fee is 
        charged, the preparer shall--
                  (A) include, at the time the form is 
                submitted to the Department, the name, address 
                or employer's address, social security number 
                or employer identification number, and 
                organizational affiliation of the preparer on 
                the applicant's form; and
                  (B) be subject to the same penalties as an 
                applicant for purposely giving false or 
                misleading information in the application.
          (3) Additional requirements.--A preparer that 
        provides consultative or preparation services pursuant 
        to this subsection shall--
                  (A) clearly inform each individual upon 
                initial contact, including contact through the 
                Internet or by telephone, that the FAFSA and EZ 
                FAFSA are free forms that may be completed 
                without professional assistance via paper or 
                electronic version of the forms that are 
                provided by the Secretary;
                  (B) include in any advertising clear and 
                conspicuous information that the FAFSA and EZ 
                FAFSA are free forms that may be completed 
                without professional assistance via paper or 
                electronic version of the forms that are 
                provided by the Secretary;
                  (C) if advertising or providing any 
                information on a website, or if providing 
                services through a website, include on the 
                website a link to the website that provides the 
                electronic version of the forms developed under 
                subsection (a); and
                  (D) not produce, use, or disseminate any 
                other form for the purpose of applying for 
                Federal student financial aid other than the 
                form developed by the Secretary under 
                subsection (a).
          (4) Special rule.--Nothing in this Act shall be 
        construed to limit preparers of the forms required 
        under this title that meet the requirements of this 
        subsection from collecting source information from a 
        student or parent, including Internal Revenue Service 
        tax forms, in providing consultative and preparation 
        services in completing the forms.
  (e) Early Application and Estimated Award Demonstration 
Program.--
          (1) Purpose and objectives.--The purpose of the 
        demonstration program under this subsection is to 
        measure the benefits, in terms of student aspirations 
        and plans to attend an institution of higher education, 
        and any adverse effects, in terms of program costs, 
        integrity, distribution, and delivery of aid under this 
        title, of implementing an early application system for 
        all dependent students that allows dependent students 
        to apply for financial aid using information from two 
        years prior to the year of enrollment. Additional 
        objectives associated with implementation of the 
        demonstration program are the following:
                  (A) To measure the feasibility of enabling 
                dependent students to apply for Federal, State, 
                and institutional financial aid in their junior 
                year of secondary school, using information 
                from two years prior to the year of enrollment, 
                by completing any of the forms under this 
                subsection.
                  (B) To identify whether receiving final 
                financial aid award estimates not later than 
                the fall of the senior year of secondary school 
                provides students with additional time to 
                compete for the limited resources available for 
                State and institutional financial aid and 
                positively impacts the college aspirations and 
                plans of these students.
                  (C) To measure the impact of using income 
                information from the years prior to enrollment 
                on--
                          (i) eligibility for financial aid 
                        under this title and for other State 
                        and institutional aid; and
                          (ii) the cost of financial aid 
                        programs under this title.
                  (D) To effectively evaluate the benefits and 
                adverse effects of the demonstration program on 
                program costs, integrity, distribution, and 
                delivery of financial aid.
          (2) Program authorized.--Not later than two years 
        after the date of enactment of the Higher Education 
        Opportunity Act, the Secretary shall implement an early 
        application demonstration program enabling dependent 
        students who wish to participate in the program--
                  (A) to complete an application under this 
                subsection during the academic year that is two 
                years prior to the year such students plan to 
                enroll in an institution of higher education; 
                and
                  (B) based on the application described in 
                subparagraph (A), to obtain, not later than one 
                year prior to the year of the students' planned 
                enrollment, information on eligibility for 
                Federal Pell Grants, Federal student loans 
                under this title, and State and institutional 
                financial aid for the student's first year of 
                enrollment in the institution of higher 
                education.
          (3) Early application and estimated award.--For all 
        dependent students selected for participation in the 
        demonstration program who submit a completed FAFSA, or, 
        as appropriate, an EZ FAFSA, two years prior to the 
        year such students plan to enroll in an institution of 
        higher education, the Secretary shall, not later than 
        one year prior to the year of such planned enrollment--
                  (A) provide each student who completes an 
                early application with an estimated 
                determination of such student's--
                          (i) expected family contribution for 
                        the first year of the student's 
                        enrollment in an institution of higher 
                        education; and
                          (ii) Federal Pell Grant award for the 
                        first such year, based on the Federal 
                        Pell Grant amount, determined under 
                        section 401(b)(2)(A), for which a 
                        student is eligible at the time of 
                        application; and
                  (B) remind the students of the need to update 
                the students' information during the calendar 
                year of enrollment using the expedited 
                reapplication process provided for in 
                subsection (a)(4)(A).
          (4) Participants.--The Secretary shall include as 
        participants in the demonstration program--
                  (A) States selected through the application 
                process described in paragraph (5);
                  (B) institutions of higher education within 
                the selected States that are interested in 
                participating in the demonstration program, and 
                that can make estimates or commitments of 
                institutional student financial aid, as 
                appropriate, to students the year before the 
                students' planned enrollment date; and
                  (C) secondary schools within the selected 
                States that are interested in participating in 
                the demonstration program, and that can commit 
                resources to--
                          (i) advertising the availability of 
                        the program;
                          (ii) identifying students who might 
                        be interested in participating in the 
                        program;
                          (iii) encouraging such students to 
                        apply; and
                          (iv) participating in the evaluation 
                        of the program.
          (5) Applications.--Each State that is interested in 
        participating in the demonstration program shall submit 
        an application to the Secretary at such time, in such 
        form, and containing such information as the Secretary 
        shall require. The application shall include--
                  (A) information on the amount of the State's 
                need-based student financial assistance 
                available, and the eligibility criteria for 
                receiving such assistance;
                  (B) a commitment to make, not later than the 
                year before the dependent students 
                participating in the demonstration program plan 
                to enroll in an institution of higher 
                education, an estimate of the award of State 
                financial aid to such dependent students;
                  (C) a plan for recruiting institutions of 
                higher education and secondary schools with 
                different demographic characteristics to 
                participate in the program;
                  (D) a plan for selecting institutions of 
                higher education and secondary schools to 
                participate in the program that--
                          (i) demonstrate a commitment to 
                        encouraging students to submit a FAFSA, 
                        or, as appropriate, an EZ FAFSA, two 
                        years before the students' planned date 
                        of enrollment in an institution of 
                        higher education;
                          (ii) serve different populations of 
                        students;
                          (iii) in the case of institutions of 
                        higher education--
                                  (I) to the extent possible, 
                                are of varying types and 
                                sectors; and
                                  (II) commit to making, not 
                                later than the year prior to 
                                the year that dependent 
                                students participating in the 
                                demonstration program plan to 
                                enroll in the institution--
                                          (aa) estimated 
                                        institutional awards to 
                                        participating dependent 
                                        students; and
                                          (bb) estimated grants 
                                        or other financial aid 
                                        available under this 
                                        title (including 
                                        supplemental grants 
                                        under subpart 3 of part 
                                        A), for all 
                                        participating dependent 
                                        students, along with 
                                        information on State 
                                        awards, as provided to 
                                        the institution by the 
                                        State;
                  (E) a commitment to participate in the 
                evaluation conducted by the Secretary; and
                  (F) such other information as the Secretary 
                may require.
          (6) Special provisions.--
                  (A) Discretion of student financial aid 
                administrators.--A financial aid administrator 
                at an institution of higher education 
                participating in a demonstration program under 
                this subsection may use the discretion provided 
                under section 479A as necessary for students 
                participating in the demonstration program.
                  (B) Waivers.--The Secretary is authorized to 
                waive, for an institution of higher education 
                participating in the demonstration program, any 
                requirements under this title, or regulations 
                prescribed under this title, that will make the 
                demonstration program unworkable, except that 
                the Secretary shall not waive any provisions 
                with respect to the maximum award amounts for 
                grants and loans under this title.
          (7) Outreach.--The Secretary shall make appropriate 
        efforts to notify States of the demonstration program 
        under this subsection. Upon determination of 
        participating States, the Secretary shall continue to 
        make efforts to notify institutions of higher education 
        and dependent students within participating States of 
        the opportunity to participate in the demonstration 
        program and of the participation requirements.
          (8) Evaluation.--The Secretary shall conduct a 
        rigorous evaluation of the demonstration program to 
        measure the program's benefits and adverse effects, as 
        the benefits and effects relate to the purpose and 
        objectives of the program described in paragraph (1). 
        In conducting the evaluation, the Secretary shall--
                  (A) determine whether receiving financial aid 
                estimates one year prior to the year in which 
                the student plans to enroll in an institution 
                of higher education, has a positive impact on 
                the higher education aspirations and plans of 
                such student;
                  (B) measure the extent to which using a 
                student's income information from the year that 
                is two years prior to the student's planned 
                enrollment date had an impact on the ability of 
                States and institutions of higher education to 
                make financial aid awards and commitments;
                  (C) determine what operational changes are 
                required to implement the program on a larger 
                scale;
                  (D) identify any changes to Federal law that 
                are necessary to implement the program on a 
                permanent basis;
                  (E) identify the benefits and adverse effects 
                of providing early estimates on program costs, 
                program operations, program integrity, award 
                amounts, distribution, and delivery of aid; and
                  (F) examine the extent to which estimated 
                awards differ from actual awards made to 
                students participating in the program.
          (9) Consultation.--The Secretary shall consult, as 
        appropriate, with the Advisory Committee on Student 
        Financial Assistance established under section 491 on 
        the design, implementation, and evaluation of the 
        demonstration program.
  [(f) Reduction of Income and Asset Information to Determine 
Eligibility for Student Financial Aid.--
          [(1) Continuation of current fafsa simplification 
        efforts.--The Secretary shall continue to examine--
                  [(A) how the Internal Revenue Service can 
                provide to the Secretary income and other data 
                needed to compute an expected family 
                contribution for taxpayers and dependents of 
                taxpayers, and when in the application cycle 
                the data can be made available;
                  [(B) whether data provided by the Internal 
                Revenue Service can be used to--
                          [(i) prepopulate the electronic 
                        version of the FAFSA with student and 
                        parent taxpayer data; or
                          [(ii) generate an expected family 
                        contribution without additional action 
                        on the part of the student and 
                        taxpayer; and
                  [(C) whether the data elements collected on 
                the FAFSA that are needed to determine 
                eligibility for student aid, or to administer 
                the Federal student financial aid programs 
                under this title, but are not needed to compute 
                an expected family contribution, such as 
                information regarding the student's citizenship 
                or permanent residency status, registration for 
                selective service, or driver's license number, 
                can be reduced without adverse effects.
          [(2) Report on fafsa simplification efforts to 
        date.--Not later than 90 days after the date of 
        enactment of the Higher Education Opportunity Act, the 
        Secretary shall provide a written report to the 
        authorizing committees on the work the Department has 
        done with the Secretary of the Treasury regarding--
                  [(A) how the expected family contribution of 
                a student can be calculated using substantially 
                less income and asset information than was used 
                on March 31, 2008;
                  [(B) the extent to which the reduced income 
                and asset information will result in a 
                redistribution of Federal grants and subsidized 
                loans under this title, State aid, or 
                institutional aid, or in a change in the 
                composition of the group of recipients of such 
                aid, and the amount of such redistribution;
                  [(C) how the alternative approaches for 
                calculating the expected family contribution 
                will--
                          [(i) rely mainly, in the case of 
                        students and parents who file income 
                        tax returns, on information available 
                        on the 1040, 1040EZ, and 1040A; and
                          [(ii) include formulas for adjusting 
                        income or asset information to produce 
                        similar results to the existing 
                        approach with less data;
                  [(D) how the Internal Revenue Service can 
                provide to the Secretary of Education income 
                and other data needed to compute an expected 
                family contribution for taxpayers and 
                dependents of taxpayers, and when in the 
                application cycle the data can be made 
                available;
                  [(E) whether data provided by the Internal 
                Revenue Service can be used to--
                          [(i) prepopulate the electronic 
                        version of the FAFSA with student and 
                        parent taxpayer data; or
                          [(ii) generate an expected family 
                        contribution without additional action 
                        on the part of the student and 
                        taxpayer;
                  [(F) the extent to which the use of income 
                data from two years prior to a student's 
                planned enrollment date will change the 
                expected family contribution computed in 
                accordance with part F, and potential 
                adjustments to the need analysis formula that 
                will minimize the change; and
                  [(G) the extent to which the data elements 
                collected on the FAFSA on March 31, 2008, that 
                are needed to determine eligibility for student 
                aid or to administer the Federal student 
                financial aid programs, but are not needed to 
                compute an expected family contribution, such 
                as information regarding the student's 
                citizenship or permanent residency status, 
                registration for selective service, or driver's 
                license number, can be reduced without adverse 
                effects.
          [(3) Study.--
                  [(A) Formation of study group.--Not later 
                than 90 days after the date of enactment of the 
                Higher Education Opportunity Act, the 
                Comptroller General shall convene a study group 
                the membership of which shall include the 
                Secretary of Education, the Secretary of the 
                Treasury, the Director of the Office of 
                Management and Budget, the Director of the 
                Congressional Budget Office, representatives of 
                institutions of higher education with expertise 
                in Federal and State financial aid assistance, 
                State chief executive officers of higher 
                education with a demonstrated commitment to 
                simplifying the FAFSA, and such other 
                individuals as the Comptroller General and the 
                Secretary of Education may designate.
                  [(B) Study required.--The Comptroller 
                General, in consultation with the study group 
                convened under subparagraph (A) shall--
                          [(i) review and build on the work of 
                        the Secretary of Education and the 
                        Secretary of the Treasury, and 
                        individuals with expertise in analysis 
                        of financial need, to assess 
                        alternative approaches for calculating 
                        the expected family contribution under 
                        the statutory need analysis formula in 
                        effect on the day before the date of 
                        enactment of the Higher Education 
                        Opportunity Act and under a new 
                        calculation that will use substantially 
                        less income and asset information than 
                        was used for the 2008-2009 FAFSA;
                          [(ii) conduct an additional analysis 
                        if necessary; and
                          [(iii) make recommendations to the 
                        authorizing committees.
                  [(C) Objectives of study.--The objectives of 
                the study required under subparagraph (B) are--
                          [(i) to determine methods to shorten 
                        the FAFSA and make the FAFSA easier and 
                        less time-consuming to complete, 
                        thereby increasing higher education 
                        access for low-income students;
                          [(ii) to identify changes to the 
                        statutory need analysis formula that 
                        will be necessary to reduce the amount 
                        of financial information students and 
                        families need to provide to receive a 
                        determination of eligibility for 
                        student financial aid without causing 
                        significant redistribution of Federal 
                        grants and subsidized loans under this 
                        title; and
                          [(iii) to review State and 
                        institutional needs and uses for data 
                        collected on the FAFSA, and to 
                        determine the best means of addressing 
                        such needs in the case of modification 
                        of the FAFSA as described in clause 
                        (i), or modification of the need 
                        analysis formula as described in clause 
                        (ii).
                  [(D) Required subjects of study.--The study 
                required under subparagraph (B) shall examine--
                          [(i) with respect to simplification 
                        of the financial aid application 
                        process using the statutory 
                        requirements for need analysis--
                                  [(I) additional steps that 
                                can be taken to simplify the 
                                financial aid application 
                                process for students who (or, 
                                in the case of dependent 
                                students, whose parents) are 
                                not required to file a Federal 
                                income tax return for the prior 
                                taxable year;
                                  [(II) information on State 
                                use of information provided on 
                                the FAFSA, including--
                                          [(aa) whether a State 
                                        uses, as of the time of 
                                        the study, or can use, 
                                        a student's expected 
                                        family contribution 
                                        based on data from two 
                                        years prior to the 
                                        student's planned 
                                        enrollment date;
                                          [(bb) the extent to 
                                        which States and 
                                        institutions will 
                                        accept the data 
                                        provided by the 
                                        Internal Revenue 
                                        Service to prepopulate 
                                        the electronic version 
                                        of the FAFSA to 
                                        determine the 
                                        distribution of State 
                                        and institutional 
                                        student financial aid 
                                        funds;
                                          [(cc) what data are 
                                        used by States, as of 
                                        the time of the study, 
                                        to determine 
                                        eligibility for State 
                                        student financial aid, 
                                        and whether the data 
                                        are used for merit- or 
                                        need-based aid;
                                          [(dd) whether State 
                                        data are required by 
                                        State law, State 
                                        regulations, or policy 
                                        directives; and
                                          [(ee) the extent to 
                                        which any State-
                                        specific information 
                                        requirements can be met 
                                        by completion of a 
                                        State application 
                                        linked to the 
                                        electronic version of 
                                        the FAFSA; and
                                  [(III) information on 
                                institutional needs, including 
                                the extent to which 
                                institutions of higher 
                                education are already using 
                                supplemental forms to collect 
                                additional data from students 
                                and their families to determine 
                                eligibility for institutional 
                                funds; and
                          [(ii) ways to reduce the amount of 
                        financial information students and 
                        families need to provide to receive a 
                        determination of eligibility for 
                        student financial aid, taking into 
                        account--
                                  [(I) the amount of 
                                redistribution of Federal 
                                grants and subsidized loans 
                                under this title caused by such 
                                a reduction, and the benefits 
                                to be gained by having an 
                                application process that will 
                                be easier for students and 
                                their families;
                                  [(II) students and families 
                                who do not file income tax 
                                returns;
                                  [(III) the extent to which 
                                the full array of income and 
                                asset information collected on 
                                the FAFSA, as of the time of 
                                the study, plays an important 
                                role in the awarding of need-
                                based State financial aid, and 
                                whether the State can use an 
                                expected family contribution 
                                generated by the FAFSA, instead 
                                of income and asset information 
                                or a calculation with reduced 
                                data elements, to support 
                                determinations of eligibility 
                                for such State aid programs 
                                and, if not, what additional 
                                information will be needed or 
                                what changes to the FAFSA will 
                                be required; and
                                  [(IV) information on 
                                institutional needs, including 
                                the extent to which 
                                institutions of higher 
                                education are already using 
                                supplemental forms to collect 
                                additional data from students 
                                and their families to determine 
                                eligibility for institutional 
                                funds; and
                                  [(V) changes to this Act or 
                                other laws that will be 
                                required to implement a 
                                modified need analysis system.
          [(4) Consultation.--The Secretary shall consult with 
        the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance 
        established under section 491 as appropriate in 
        carrying out this subsection.
          [(5) Reports.--
                  [(A) Reports on study.--The Secretary shall 
                prepare and submit to the authorizing 
                committees--
                          [(i) not later than one year after 
                        the date of enactment of the Higher 
                        Education Opportunity Act, an interim 
                        report on the progress of the study 
                        required under paragraph (3) that 
                        includes any preliminary 
                        recommendations by the study group 
                        established under such paragraph; and
                          [(ii) not later than two years after 
                        the date of enactment of the Higher 
                        Education Opportunity Act, a final 
                        report on the results of the study 
                        required under paragraph (3) that 
                        includes recommendations by the study 
                        group established under such paragraph.
                  [(B) Reports on fafsa simplification 
                efforts.--The Secretary shall report to the 
                authorizing committees, from time to time, on 
                the progress of the simplification efforts 
                under this subsection.]
  (f) Use of Internal Revenue Service Data Retrieval Tool to 
Populate FAFSA.--
          (1) Simplification efforts.--The Secretary shall--
                  (A) make every effort to use data available 
                from the Internal Revenue Service to reduce the 
                amount of original data entry by applicants and 
                strengthen the reliability of data used to 
                calculate expected family contributions, 
                including through the use of technology to--
                          (i) automatically populate the 
                        electronic version of the forms under 
                        this paragraph with data available from 
                        the Internal Revenue Service; and
                          (ii) direct an applicant to 
                        appropriate questions on such forms 
                        based on the applicant's answers to 
                        previous questions; and
                  (B) allow single taxpayers, married taxpayers 
                filing jointly, and married taxpayers filing 
                separately to utilize the data retrieval tool 
                to its full capacity.
          (2) Use of tax return in application process.--The 
        Secretary shall continue to examine whether data 
        provided by the Internal Revenue Service can be used to 
        generate an expected family contribution without 
        additional action on the part of the student and 
        taxpayer.
          (3) Reports on fafsa simplification efforts.--Not 
        less than once every other year, the Secretary shall 
        report to the authorizing committees on the progress of 
        the simplification efforts under this subsection.
          (4) Reports on fafsa access.--Not less than once 
        every 10 years, the Secretary shall report to the 
        authorizing committees on the needs of limited English 
        proficient students using the FAFSA.
  (g) Addressing the Digital Divide.--The Secretary shall 
utilize savings accrued by moving more applicants to the 
electronic version of the forms described in subsection (a)(3) 
to improve access to the electronic version of the forms 
described in such subsection for applicants meeting the 
requirements of subsection (b) or (c) of section 479.
  (h) Adjustments.--The Secretary shall disclose, on the form 
notifying a student of the student's expected family 
contribution, that the student may, on a case-by-case basis, 
qualify for an adjustment under section 479A to the cost of 
attendance or the values of the data items required to 
calculate the expected contribution for the student or parent. 
Such disclosure shall specify--
          (1) the special circumstances under which a student 
        or family member may qualify for such adjustment; and
          (2) additional information regarding the steps a 
        student or family member may take in order to seek an 
        adjustment under section 479A.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                                  [all]