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June 12, 2000

H.R 4504 - Higher Education Technical Amendments of 2000
(Rep. McKeon (R) CA and 3 others)

The Administration is generally pleased with H.R. 4504, and has no objection to House passage of the bill, but will work with the Senate to address remaining concerns by seeking amendments. (See attachment for specific concerns.)



Specific Concerns with H.R. 4504


The Administration will seek amendments to:
  • Make the proposed special rule for the Student Support Services (SSS) program more consistent with the Administration's College Completion Challenge Grant proposal by: (1) eliminating the requirement that institutions of higher education participating under the special rule be current SSS participants; and (2) ensuring that institutions providing grants under the special rule also offer intensive summer programs to first-year students at risk of dropping out, at no cost to the students.

  • Make the proposed modifications to the requirement that students repay certain grant funds when withdrawing from college more similar to the Administration's proposal. In particular, the Administration urges the addition of forgiveness for the first grant overpayment owed by a student upon withdrawal from school, to significantly alleviate a burden that currently falls disproportionately on the lowest income students.

  • Eliminate a requirement for a minimum 45-day comment period on any notice of proposed rulemaking for student aid programs that would be stricter than requirements that apply to all other government agencies under the Administrative Procedure Act. The Department of Education generally provides comment periods on student aid regulations that are longer than 45 days, but needs the flexibility to provide comment periods that reflect the complexity of the regulations to be issued and statutory and other time constraints affecting their production.

  • Include additional technical changes to the provision that currently prohibits students from receiving aid if they are convicted of drug offenses, in order to make the law more workable and more understandable for students, while maintaining its policy objectives.

  • Delete the provision that attempts to eliminate the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) requirement that a forbearance be in writing, which would increase disputes over FFEL terms.

  • Eliminate provisions that would establish different procedures for rehabilitating Federal Perkins Loans than those that apply to FFEL and Direct Loans, thereby adding administrative complexity and inequity to student loan programs.