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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.
7/23/2014--Passed House amended. Advancing Competency-Based Education Demonstration Project Act of 2014 - Amends title IV (Student Assistance) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA) to direct the Secretary of Education to select up to 30 institutions of higher education (IHEs) or systems or consortia of IHEs to: (1) carry out, on a voluntary basis, competency-based education demonstration projects; and (2) receive waivers of certain statutory and regulatory requirements that would otherwise prevent such an entity from participating in federal student aid programs or inhibit the operation of competency-based education.
Requires the Secretary to provide outreach regarding such projects to historically Black colleges and universities, Hispanic-serving institutions, Native American-serving, nontribal institutions, IHEs serving special needs students, and rural IHEs.
Defines "competency-based education" as an educational process or program that measures students' knowledge, skills, and experience through assessments instead of, or in addition to, measuring their credit or clock hours.
Includes in the waivers: (1) limitations on the provision of instruction through correspondence courses, (2) requirements that schools provide a minimum number of weeks of instruction, and (3) requirements that students enroll for at least a minimum number of credit or clock hours.
Requires each demonstration project to enroll a minimum of 50 and a maximum of 3,000 students.
Requires the Secretary to prioritize proposed demonstration projects that show promise in reducing the time or cost required to complete a degree, certificate, or credential.
Prohibits the Secretary from selecting an IHE or a system or consortium of IHEs to conduct a competency-based education demonstration project if such entity had, for one of the two preceding fiscal years: (1) a cohort default rate of 30% or greater, and (2) more than 50% of its students borrowing title IV loans.
Requires each entity carrying out a demonstration project to provide the Director of the Institute of Education Sciences with certain disaggregated information regarding the students participating in the project, including the average number of competencies a student acquires while participating in the project and the time it takes the student to acquire such competencies.
Requires the Director, annually, to: (1) evaluate each competency-based education demonstration project, and (2) submit a report to Congress that includes information on the evaluations and recommendations for enhancing those projects.
Allows a demonstration project that has undergone at least two evaluations by the Director to amend its application to seek the Secretary's approval to increase its student enrollment to up to 5,000 students.
Directs the Secretary, on a continuing basis, to: (1) oversee, and provide technical assistance to, the demonstration projects; and (2) consult with accrediting entities and state regulatory authorities for additional ways to improve the delivery of competency-based education.
Requires each IHE participating in a demonstration project under this Act to provide its students or the parents of its minor students with: (1) a disclosure letter that describes the personally identifiable student information that may be sold by a person with whom the IHE has an agreement to provide software applications for students, and (2) an option to block the sale of such information.
Directs the Secretary to report to Congress every ten years on the needs of limited English proficient students using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
Makes $1 million of the amount authorized to be appropriated for Department of Education salaries and expenses available to carry out this Act and its amendments.
Directs the Secretary to establish the Higher Education Regulatory Reform Task Force, to be composed of: (1) the Secretary or the Secretary's designee, (2) a representative of the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance, and (3) representatives from the higher education community.
Requires the Secretary, within six months after this Act's enactment, to submit to Congress and make available on a publicly available website a report prepared by the Task Force on the Department of Education's regulatory requirements for IHEs.
Directs the Secretary, in consultation with the Commissioner of Internal Revenue (IRS), to study and report to Congress, within one year after this Act's enactment, on the feasibility and advantages and disadvantages of using individual income tax returns as the primary form of application for student aid under the HEA.