Program Participation Agreements and IPEDS

(20 U.S.C. § 1094(a)(17); 34 C.F.R. § 100.6; 29 C.F.R. §§ 1602.48-50)

Accountability and reporting requirements for institutions participating in financial aid programs for students are set forth at 20 U.S.C. § 1094.

The required list of disclosures (to students) includes the following:

  • available student financial assistance programs;
  • method of distribution for student financial assistance;
  • how to apply for student financial assistance;
  • rights and responsibilities of students receiving Title IV aid;
  • cost of attendance at the institution;
  • requirements for refunds, for return of federal funds, and for officially withdrawing from the institution;
  • academic program information, including facilities and faculty;
  • who to contact and how to receive required disclosures;
  • special facilities and services available to students with disabilities;
  • institutional accreditation and licensure information;
  • standards for satisfactory academic progress;
  • completion or graduation rates for the institution;
  • terms and conditions for deferral or partial cancellation of student loans;
  • notice that study abroad is considered enrollment at the home institution for purposes of federal student aid;
  • the campus crime report;
  • equity in athletics report;
  • Family Education Rights and Privacy Act information;
  • notice advising where to find information provided by a state or the District of Columbia concerning registered sex offenders who are enrolled or employed on campus;
  • effective August 14, 2009 the transfer of credit policies must be posted on the schools's web page; including any established criteria the institution uses regarding the transfer of credit earned at another institution of higher education and a list of IHEs with which the school has established an articulation agreement;
  • effective August 14 ,2009 cost calculators on the web showing cost of attending the institution;
  • effective July 1, 2010 an Institution Pricing Summary Page which breaks out net price info by income categories; and
  • effective July 1, 2010 (to the maximum extent feasible) the International Standards Book Number (“ISBN”) and retail price for required and recommended textbooks and supplemental materials for each course listed on the schedule (posted on the web or print course schedule). If no ISBN is available, the institution may provide the textbook's author, title, publisher, and copyright date. If the disclosure is not practical for a certain text, a designation of *to be determined* can be noted. Written course schedules should indicate where on the university web page this info will be posted. HEOA encourages schools to disseminate information regarding book rentals, used textbooks, buy back programs, and alternative delivery programs or other cost saving strategies. Schools shall make available to the college bookstore, upon request, the most accurate information regarding the course schedule for the next academic period and for each course offered, the information described above, the number of students enrolled in such course, and the maximum enrollment for each class.


Effective Aug. 14, 2008

  • The institution’s plans for improving the academic program of the institution;
  • The terms and conditions of the FFEL, Direct and Perkins loans students receive;
  • The institution’s policies and sanctions regarding copyright infringement, including (a) an annual disclosure informing students that the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material, including peer-to-peer file sharing, may subject the students to criminal or civil penalties; (b) a summary of the penalties for violations of copyright laws; and (c) a description of the institution’s policy, including sanctions, on unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing;
  • Student body diversity including the percentage of enrolled, full-time men, women, recipients of Pell Grants, and self-identified racial or ethnic minorities;
  • Placement information for the graduates of the institution’s degree or certificate programs;
  • Graduate and professional programs in which graduates of the institution’s four-year programs have enrolled;
  • The institution’s fire safety report (due October 2010)
  • Retention rate of certificate or degree seeking first-time, full-time undergraduate students at the institution; and
  • The institution’s policy on vaccinations
  • Notice to students concerning penalties for drug violations, both upon enrollment, and after loss of eligibility. This requires a separate written notice advising the student of the penalties for drug violations. For any student who loses federal student aid eligibility due to drug violations, the school must provide a written notice describing the ways the student can regain eligibility.

Although these new reporting provisions are now law, it is still necessary for the Department of Education to hold a negotiated rule making process in order to define exactly how the law will be enforced on colleges and universities. The final rules that spring from that process may not take effect until July 2010. A good faith effort is suggested.

NCES and OPE Announce Release of the HEOA Net Price Calculator
The net price calculator is a template that schools can use to create the net price calculator that schools must have on their websites by Oct. 29, 2011. Schools may use the Department's template, or develop their own as long as it uses the data elements in the DOE template. Schools are encouraged to make this tool available sooner if possible. The net price calculator uses both student entered and school provided data to come up with an estimated price of attendance, which uses the formula of prince of attendance minus grant aid. Schools might want to note when posting that these estimate are not binding upon the institution, but rather a good faith estimate based upon price of attendance and financial aid provided to students in a given income category in a given year.

Final Rule, General and Non-Loan Programmatic Issues

74 Fed. Reg.55902 (October 29, 2009)
These final rules implement various general and non loan provisions of the Higher Education Act as amended by the HEOA of 2008.
The Higher Education Opportunity Act: New Reporting and Disclosure Requirements for Universities Sept. 16, 2008 NACUANOTE by NACUA member Kate Tromble. This note summarizes the variety of new reporting requirements, with effective dates, and contains links to the text of the law.
In August 2008, pursuant to an amendment to the Higher Education Opportunity Act, the following certification to the Program Participation Agreement Text was added. This provision shall apply with respect to any disciplinary proceeding conducted by an institution of higher education on or after August 14, 2009:
The institution certifies that the institution—

  • (A) has developed plans to effectively combat the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material,including through the use of a variety of technology-based deterrents; and
  • (B) will, to the extent practicable, offer alternatives to illegal downloading or peer-to-peer distribution of intellectual property, as determined by the institution in consultation with the chief technology officer or other designated officer of the institution.

Reporting Requirements and Identity Theft:

There are a number of reporting requirements under the program participation agreement rules. One which has received more attention recently is the requirement that schools develop and apply an adequate system to identify and resolve discrepancies in the information that the institution receives from different sources with respect to a student's application for financial aid under Title IV, HEA programs. This regulation also requires schools to refer to the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Education for investigation possible instances of fraud or criminal misconduct.

See Financial Aid Programs for information on the safe harbor rules relating to incentive compensation which set forth specific payment arrangements that an institution may carry out that have been determined not to violate the incentive compensation prohibition in section 487(a)(20) of the HEA.

Title 20 U.S.C. § 1094(a)(17) requires the completion of surveys as part of the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) or any other federal postsecondary institution data collection effort.

Title 20 U.S.C. § 1094(a)(18) requires a compilation of revenues and expenditures for those institutions offering athletics-related student aid.

Final Guidance on Maintaining, Collecting, and Reporting Racial and Ethnic Data to the U.S. Department of Education;

72 Fed. Reg. 59266 (Oct. 19, 2007)

Effective Dec. 3, 2007, but not implementation not required until Fall 2010 for the 2010-2011 school year. The guidance addresses two issues at the postsecondary level:
1) how educational institutions and other recipients will collect and maintain racial and ethnic data from students and staff; and
2) how educational institutions and other recipients will aggregate racial and ethnic data when reporting those data to the Department.

What is new is that students and staff may not report ethnicity and race separately, and are permitted to select more than one race. The second part inquiry includes expanded race categories.


Educational institutions and other recipients will be required to collect racial and ethnic data using a two-part question. The first part is whether the respondent is Hispanic/Latino. The second part is whether the respondent is from one or more races using the following five racial groups: American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Black or African American, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, and White. Respondents will not be offered the choice of selecting a "two or more races'' category.


When reporting data to the Department, educational institutions and other recipients will report aggregated racial and ethnic data in the following seven categories: (1) Hispanic/Latino of any race; and, for individuals who are non- Hispanic/Latino only, (2) American Indian or Alaska Native, (3) Asian, (4) Black or African American, (5) Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, (6) White, and (7) Two or more races.

Missing Data:

Postsecondary institutions use self-identification only and do not use observer identification. Postsecondary institutions will also be permitted to continue to include a "race and ethnicity unknown'' category when reporting data to the Department. This category is being continued in the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) because the National Center for Education Statistics' experience has shown that (1) a substantial number of college students have refused to identify a race and (2) there is often not a convenient mechanism for college administrators to use observer identification.


Insitutions must maintain racial and ethnic data for a minimum of three years. In the case of litigation, a claim, audit or any other action involving the records, the data must be retained until the end of the action.

Regulations on Suspension of Eligibility for Drug-Related Offenses:

On October 22, 1999, the final rule was issued on student eligibility for financial aid when convicted on drug charges in a state or federal court. See 64 Fed. Reg. 57355 (Oct. 22, 1999). This regulation amends 34 C.F.R. § 668.40, by clarifying how aid cutoff will be implemented for students who have been convicted for possession or sale of illegal drugs.

The changes are effective for HEA program funds for award years beginning on or after July 1, 2000. Convictions that occur prior to that date may affect a student's eligibility. A determination or adjudication arising out of a juvenile proceeding is not a conviction for purposes of this regulation.

The institution is not required to question their applicants for Title IV HEA program funds about drug convictions. Rather, students will be allowed to self-certify their eligibility on the FAFSA or SAR. The institution is also not required to verify the accuracy of the student’s self-certification. Students who regain eligibility during an enrollment period will be eligible to receive grants or loans for the entire period, and students who lose eligibility during a payment period will be immediately ineligible to receive subsequent disbursements of aid.

On a first conviction of a drug possession offense, the government will withhold eligibility for one year, two years for a second offense, and indefinitely for a third possession offense. Stricter penalties apply to convictions for selling illegal drugs. The Department of Education will be providing further guidance to institutions on this rule.

Last Revised: 6/17/10 12:09