[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 31 (Wednesday, February 14, 2018)]
[Notices]
[Pages 6537-6541]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-02955]


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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION


Eligibility Designations and Applications for Waiver of 
Eligibility Requirements; Programs Under Parts A and F of Title III of 
the Higher Education Act of 1965, as Amended (HEA), and Programs Under 
Title V of the HEA

AGENCY: Office of Postsecondary Education, Department of Education 
(Department).

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: The Department announces the process for designation of 
eligible institutions and invites applications for waiver of 
eligibility requirements for fiscal year (FY) 2018, for the following 
programs:
    1. Programs authorized under Part A, Title III of the HEA: 
Strengthening Institutions Program (Part A SIP), Alaska Native and 
Native Hawaiian-Serving Institutions (Part A ANNH), Predominantly Black 
Institutions (Part A PBI), Native American-Serving Nontribal 
Institutions (Part A NASNTI), and Asian American and Native American 
Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions (Part A AANAPISI).
    2. Programs authorized under Part F, Title III of the HEA: 
Hispanic-Serving Institutions STEM and Articulation (Part F, HSI STEM 
and Articulation), Predominantly Black Institutions (Part F PBI), 
Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian-Serving Institutions (Part F ANNH), 
Native American-Serving Nontribal Institutions (Part F NASNTI), and 
Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving 
Institutions (Part F AANAPISI).
    3. Programs authorized under Title V of the HEA: Developing 
Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) and Promoting Postbaccalaureate 
Opportunities for Hispanic Americans (PPOHA).

DATES: 
    Applications Available: February 14, 2018.
    Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: March 16, 2018.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Christopher Smith, Institutional 
Service, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 
250-10, Washington, DC 20202. Telephone: (202)453-7946, or by email: 
[email protected].
    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf or a text 
telephone, call the Federal Relay Service, toll free, at 1-800-877-
8339.
    Special Note: Section 312 of the HEA and 34 CFR 607.2-607.5 include 
most of the basic eligibility requirements for

[[Page 6538]]

grant programs authorized under Titles III and V of the HEA. Section 
312(b)(1)(B) of the HEA provides that, to be eligible for these 
programs, an institution of higher education's (IHE's or institution's) 
average ``educational and general expenditures'' (E&G) per full-time 
equivalent (FTE) undergraduate student must be less than the average 
E&G expenditures per FTE undergraduate student of institutions that 
offer similar instruction in that year.
    Since 2004, the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) 
has calculated Core Expenses per FTE of institutions, a statistic 
similar to E&G per FTE. Both E&G per FTE and Core Expenses per FTE are 
based on regular operational expenditures of institutions (excluding 
auxiliary enterprises, independent operations, and hospital expenses). 
They differ only in that E&G per FTE is based on fall undergraduate 
enrollment, while Core Expenses per FTE is based on 12-month 
undergraduate enrollment for the academic year.
    To avoid inconsistency in the data submitted to, and produced by, 
the Department, for the purpose of section 312(b)(1)(B) of the HEA, E&G 
per FTE is calculated using the same methodology as Core Expenses per 
FTE. Accordingly, with regard to this and future notices inviting 
applications for waivers of eligibility requirements, to calculate E&G 
per FTE for the purpose of determining institutional eligibility for 
programs under Title V and Part A and Part F of Title III of the HEA, 
the Department will apply the NCES methodology for calculating Core 
Expenses per FTE. Institutions requesting an eligibility waiver 
determination must use the Core Expenses per FTE data reported to NCES' 
Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) for the most 
currently available academic year, in this case academic year 2015-
2016.

Full Text of Announcement

I. Funding Opportunity Description

    Purpose of Programs:
    The Part A SIP, Part A ANNH, Part A PBI, Part A NASNTI, and Part A 
AANAPISI programs are authorized under Title III, Part A, of the HEA. 
The HSI and PPOHA programs are authorized under Title V of the HEA. The 
Part F, HSI STEM and Articulation, Part F PBI, Part F AANAPISI, Part F 
ANNH, and Part F NASNTI programs are authorized under Title III, Part F 
of the HEA. Please note that certain programs in this notice have the 
same or similar names as other programs that are authorized under a 
different statutory authority. For this reason, we specify the 
statutory authority as part of the acronym for certain programs.
    Under the programs discussed above, institutions are eligible to 
apply for grants if they meet specific statutory and regulatory 
eligibility requirements. An IHE that is designated as an eligible 
institution may also receive a waiver of certain non-Federal cost-
sharing requirements for one year under the Federal Supplemental 
Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) program authorized by Part A, 
Title IV of the HEA and the Federal Work-Study (FWS) program authorized 
by section 443 of the HEA. Qualified institutions may receive the FSEOG 
and FWS waivers for one year even if they do not receive a grant under 
the Title III or Title V programs. An applicant that receives a grant 
from the Student Support Services (SSS) program that is authorized 
under section 402D of the HEA, 20 U.S.C. 1070a-14, may receive a waiver 
of the required non-Federal cost share for institutions for the 
duration of the grant. An applicant that receives a grant from the 
Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Language (UISFL) 
program that is authorized under section 604 of the HEA, 20 U.S.C. 
1124, may receive a waiver or reduction of the required non-Federal 
cost share for institutions for the duration of the grant.
    Special Note: To qualify as an eligible institution under the grant 
programs listed in this notice, your institution must satisfy several 
criteria. For most of these programs, these criteria include those that 
relate to the enrollment of needy students and to Core Expenses per FTE 
student count for a specified base year. The most recent data available 
in IPEDS for Core Expenses per FTE are for base year 2015-2016. In 
order to award FY 2018 grants in a timely manner, we will use these 
data to evaluate eligibility.
    Accordingly, all institutions interested in either applying for a 
new grant under the Title III or Title V programs addressed in this 
notice, or requesting a waiver of the non-Federal cost share, must be 
designated as an eligible institution for FY 2018. Under the HEA, any 
IHE interested in applying for a grant under any of these programs must 
first be designated as an eligible institution. (34 CFR 606.5 and 
607.5).
    Eligible Applicants:
    The eligibility requirements for the programs authorized under Part 
A of Title III of the HEA are in sections 312 and 317-320 of the HEA 
(20 U.S.C. 1058, 1059d-1059g) and in 34 CFR 607.2 through 607.5. The 
regulations may be accessed at: www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?SID=bc12bf5d685021e069cd1a15352b381a&mc=true&node=pt34.3.607&rgn=div5.
    The eligibility requirements for the programs authorized by Part F 
of Title III of the HEA are in section 371 of the HEA (20 U.S.C. 
1067q). There are currently no specific regulations for these programs.
    The eligibility requirements for the Title V HSI program are in 
Part A of Title V of the HEA and in 34 CFR 606.2 through 34 CFR 606.5. 
The regulations may be accessed at: www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?SID=bc12bf5d685021e069cd1a15352b381a&mc=true&node=pt34.3.606&rgn=div5l.
    The requirements for the PPOHA program are in Part B of Title V of 
the HEA and in the notice of final requirements published in the 
Federal Register on July 27, 2010 (75 FR 44055), and in 34 CFR 606.2(a) 
and (b), and 606.3 through 606.5.
    The Department has instituted a process known as the Eligibility 
Matrix (EM), under which we will use information submitted by IHEs to 
IPEDS to determine which institutions meet the basic eligibility 
requirements for the programs authorized by Title III or Title V of the 
HEA listed above. We will use enrollment and fiscal data for the 2015-
2016 year submitted by institutions to IPEDS to make eligibility 
determinations for FY 2018. Beginning February 14, 2018, an institution 
will be able to review the Department's decision on whether it is 
eligible for the grant programs authorized by Titles III or V of the 
HEA through this process by checking the institution's eligibility in 
the Eligibility system linked through the Department's Institutional 
Service Eligibility website at: http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ope/idues/eligibility.html.
    The EM is part of the Department's Eligibility system. The EM is a 
read-only worksheet that lists all potentially eligible postsecondary 
institutions, as determined by the Department using the data described 
above. If the entry for your institution in the EM shows that your 
institution is eligible to apply for a grant for a particular program, 
and you plan to submit an application for a grant in that program, you 
will not need to apply for eligibility or for a waiver through the 
process described in this notice. Rather, you may print out the 
eligibility letter directly. However, if the EM does not show that your 
institution is eligible for a program in which you plan to apply for a 
grant, you must submit a waiver request as discussed in this notice 
before the March 16, 2018 deadline.

[[Page 6539]]

    To check your institution's eligibility in the EM, go to the 
website https://hepis.ed.gov/title3and5/, click the ``Application for 
Designation as an Eligible Institution'' link, and then click the 
``Check Eligibility'' link. You may search the EM by institution name, 
IPEDS unit ID number, or OPE ID number. If you are inquiring about 
general eligibility, look up your institution's name under the SIP 
column. If you are inquiring about specific program eligibility, look 
under that program's column.
    If the EM does not show that your institution is eligible for a 
program, or if your institution does not appear in the EM data system, 
or if you disagree with the eligibility determination reflected in the 
EM data system, you can apply for a waiver or reconsideration through 
the process described in this notice. The waiver application process is 
the same as in previous years; you will choose the waiver option on the 
website at https://hepis.ed.gov/title3and5/ and submit your 
institution's waiver request.
    Enrollment of Needy Students: For the Title III and V programs 
(excluding the PBI programs), an institution is considered to have an 
enrollment of needy students if: (1) At least 50 percent of its degree-
seeking students received financial assistance under the Federal Pell 
Grant, FSEOG, FWS, or the Federal Perkins Loan programs; or (2) the 
percentage of its undergraduate degree-seeking students who were 
enrolled on at least a half-time basis and received Federal Pell Grants 
exceeded the average percentage of undergraduate degree students who 
were enrolled on at least a half-time basis and received Federal Pell 
Grants at comparable institutions that offer similar instruction.
    To qualify under this latter criterion, an institution's Federal 
Pell Grant percentage for base year 2015-2016 must be more than the 
average for its category of comparable institutions provided in the 
2015-2016 Average Pell Grant and Core Expenses per FTE Student table in 
this notice. If your institution qualifies under the first criterion, 
under which at least 50 percent of its degree-seeking students received 
financial assistance under one of several Federal student aid programs 
(the Federal Pell Grant, FSEOG, FWS, or the Federal Perkins Loan 
programs), but not the second criterion, under which an institution's 
Federal Pell Grant percentage for base year 2015-2016 must be more than 
the average for its category of comparable institutions provided in the 
2015-2016 Average Pell Grant and Core Expenses per FTE Student table in 
this notice, you must submit a waiver request including the requested 
data, which is not available in IPEDS.
    For the definition of ``Enrollment of Needy Students,'' for 
purposes of the Part A PBI program see section 318(b)(2) of the HEA, 
and for purposes of the Part F PBI program see section 371(c)(9)of the 
HEA.
    Core Expenses per FTE Student: For the Title III, Part A SIP; Part 
A ANNH; Part A PBI; Part A NASNTI; Part A AANAPISI; Title III, Part F 
HSI STEM and Articulation; Part F PBI; Part F AANAPISI; Part F ANNH; 
Part F NASNTI; Title V, Part A HSI, and Title V, Part B PPOHA programs, 
an institution should compare its base year 2015-2016 Core Expenses per 
FTE student to the average Core Expenses per FTE student for its 
category of comparable institutions in the base year 2015-2016 Average 
Pell Grant and Average Core Expenses per FTE Student Table in this 
notice. The institution meets this eligibility requirement under these 
programs if its Core Expenses for the 2015-2016 base year are less than 
the average for its category of comparable institutions.
    Core Expenses are defined as the total expenses for the essential 
education activities of the institution. Core Expenses for public 
institutions reporting under the Governmental Accounting Standards 
Board (GASB) requirements include expenses for instruction, research, 
public service, academic support, student services, institutional 
support, operation and maintenance of plant, depreciation, scholarships 
and fellowships, interest, and other operating and non-operating 
expenses. Core Expenses for institutions reporting under the Financial 
Accounting Standards Board (FASB) standards (primarily private, not-
for-profit, and for-profit) include expenses for instruction, research, 
public service, academic support, student services, institutional 
support, net grant aid to students, and other expenses. Do NOT include 
Federal student financial aid. For both FASB and GASB institutions, 
core expenses exclude expenses for auxiliary enterprises (e.g., 
bookstores, dormitories), hospitals, and independent operations. The 
following table identifies the relevant average Federal Pell Grant 
percentages for the base year 2015-2016 and the relevant Core Expenses 
per FTE student for the base year 2015-2016 for the four categories of 
comparable institutions:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                          Base year 2015- Base year 2015-
                                           2016 average    2016 average
           Type of institution              Pell Grant     core expenses
                                            percentage        per FTE
                                                              student
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Two-year Public Institutions............              38         $13,154
Two-year Non-profit Private Institutions              59          14,349
Four-year Public Institutions...........              38          30,044
Four-year Non-profit Private                          39          38,307
 Institutions...........................
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Waiver Information: IHEs that do not meet the needy student 
enrollment requirement or the Core Expenses per FTE requirement may 
apply to the Secretary for a waiver of these requirements, as described 
in sections 392 and 522 of the HEA, and the implementing regulations at 
34 CFR 606.3(b), 606.4(c) and (d), 607.3(b), and 607.4(c) and (d).
    IHEs requesting a waiver of the needy student enrollment 
requirement or the Core Expenses per FTE requirement must include in 
their application detailed information supporting the waiver request, 
as described in the instructions for completing the application.
    The regulations governing the Secretary's authority to waive the 
needy student requirement, 34 CFR 606.3(b)(2) and (3) and 607.3(b)(2) 
and (3), refer to ``low-income'' students or families. The regulations 
at 34 CFR 606.3(c) and 607.3(c) define ``low-income'' as an amount that 
does not exceed 150 percent of the amount equal to the poverty level, 
as established by the U.S. Census Bureau.
    For the purposes of this waiver provision, the following table sets 
forth the low-income levels (at 150%) for various sizes of families:

[[Page 6540]]



                                          2016 Annual Low-Income Levels
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                                                                   Family income
                                                                    for the 48
                                                                    contiguous     Family income   Family income
                       Size of family unit                          states, DC,     for Alaska      for Hawaii
                                                                   and outlying
                                                                   jurisdictions
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1...............................................................         $17,820         $22,260         $20,505
2...............................................................          24,030          30,030          27,645
3...............................................................          30,240          37,800          34,785
4...............................................................          36,450          45,570          41,925
5...............................................................          42,660          53,340          49,065
6...............................................................          48,870          61,110          56,205
7...............................................................          55,095          68,880          63,345
8...............................................................          61,335          76,680          70,515
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Note: We use the 2016 annual low-income levels because those are 
the amounts that apply to the family income reported by students 
enrolled for the fall 2015 semester. For family units with more than 
eight members, add the following amount for each additional family 
member: $6,240 for the contiguous 48 States, the District of Columbia, 
and outlying jurisdictions; $7,800 for Alaska; and $7,170 for Hawaii.
    The figures shown under family income represent amounts equal to 
150 percent of the family income levels established by the U.S. Census 
Bureau for determining poverty status. The poverty guidelines were 
published on January 25, 2016, in the Federal Register by the U.S. 
Department of Health and Human Services (81 FR 4036).
    Information about ``metropolitan statistical areas'' referenced in 
34 CFR 606.3(b)(4) and 607.3(b)(4) may be obtained at:
    www.census.gov/prod/2010pubs/10smadb/appendixc.pdf,
    www.census.gov/prod/2008pubs/07ccdb/appd.pdf.
    Electronic Submission of Waiver Applications:
    If your institution does not appear in the EM data system as one 
that is eligible for the program under which you plan to apply for a 
grant, you must submit an application for a waiver of the eligibility 
requirements. To request a waiver, you must upload a waiver narrative 
at: https://hepis.ed.gov/title3and5/.
    Exception to the Electronic Submission Requirement: You qualify for 
an exception to the electronic submission requirement, and may submit 
your application in paper format, if you are unable to submit an 
application electronically because--
     You do not have access to the internet; or
     You do not have the capacity to upload documents to the 
website;

and

     No later than two weeks before the waiver application 
deadline date (14 calendar days or, if the fourteenth calendar day 
before the application deadline date falls on a Federal holiday, the 
next business day following the Federal holiday), you mail or fax a 
written statement to the Department, explaining which of the two 
grounds for an exception prevents you from using the internet to submit 
your application. If you mail your written statement to the Department, 
it must be postmarked no later than two weeks before the application 
deadline date. If you fax your written statement to the Department, we 
must receive the faxed statement no later than two weeks before the 
application deadline date.
    Mail or fax your statement to: Christopher Smith or Jason Cottrell, 
U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW, Room 250-10, 
Washington, DC 20202. Fax: (202) 401-8466.
    Your paper waiver application must be submitted in accordance with 
the mail or hand delivery instructions described in this notice.
    Submission of Paper Applications by Mail.
    If you qualify for an exception to the electronic submission 
requirement, you may mail (through the U.S. Postal Service or a 
commercial carrier) your application to the Department. You must mail 
the original and two copies of your application, on or before the 
application deadline date, to the Department at the following address: 
Christopher Smith, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue 
SW, Room 250-10, Washington, DC 20202.
    You must show proof of mailing consisting of one of the following:
    (1) A legibly dated U.S. Postal Service postmark.
    (2) A legible mail receipt with the date of mailing stamped by the 
U.S. Postal Service.
    (3) A dated shipping label, invoice, or receipt from a commercial 
carrier.
    (4) Any other proof of mailing acceptable to the Secretary of the 
U.S. Department of Education.
    If you mail your application through the U.S. Postal Service, we do 
not accept either of the following as proof of mailing:
    (1) A private metered postmark.
    (2) A mail receipt that is not dated by the U.S. Postal Service.
    Note: The U.S. Postal Service does not uniformly provide a dated 
postmark. Before relying on this method, you should check with your 
local post office.
    We will not consider waiver applications postmarked after the 
application deadline date.
    Submission of Paper Applications by Hand Delivery.
    If you qualify for an exception to the electronic submission 
requirement, you (or a courier service) may deliver your paper 
application to the Department by hand. You must deliver the 
application, on or before the application deadline date, to the 
Department at the following address: Christopher Smith, U.S. Department 
of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW, Room 250-10, Washington, DC 
20202.
    We accept hand deliveries daily between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., 
Washington, DC time, except Saturdays, Sundays, and Federal holidays.
    Applicable Regulations: (a) The Education Department General 
Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) in 34 CFR parts 75, 77, 79, 82, 84, 
86, 97, 98, and 99. (b) The OMB Guidelines to Agencies on 
Governmentwide Debarment and Suspension (Nonprocurement) in 2 CFR 180, 
as adopted and amended as regulations of the Department in 2 CFR part 
3485. (c) The Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and 
Audit Requirements for Federal Awards in 2 CFR part 200, as adopted in 
2 CFR

[[Page 6541]]

part 3474. (d) The regulations for certain Title III programs in 34 CFR 
part 607, and for the HSI program in 34 CFR part 606. (e) The notice of 
final requirements for the PPOHA program, published in the Federal 
Register on July 27, 2010 (75 FR 44055).

    Note: The regulations in 34 CFR part 79 apply to all applicants 
except federally recognized Indian Tribes.


    Note: The regulations in 34 CFR part 86 apply to IHEs only.


    Note: There are no program-specific regulations for the Part A 
AANAPISI, Part A NASNTI, and Part A PBI programs or any of the Part 
F, Title III programs. Also, there have been amendments to the HEA 
since the Department last issued regulations for the programs 
established under Titles III and V of the statute. Accordingly, we 
encourage each potential applicant to read the applicable sections 
of the HEA in order to fully understand the eligibility requirements 
for the program for which they are applying.

II. Other Information

    Accessible Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this 
document and a copy of the waiver application in an accessible format 
(e.g., braille, large print, audio tape, or compact disc) on request to 
the contact person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.
    Electronic Access to This Document: The official version of this 
document is the document published in the Federal Register. Free 
internet access to the official edition of the Federal Register and the 
Code of Federal Regulations is available via the Federal Digital System 
at: www.gpo.gov/fdsys. At this site you can view this document, as well 
as all other documents of this Department published in the Federal 
Register, in text or Portable Document Format (PDF). To use PDF you 
must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free at the site.
    You may also access documents of the Department published in the 
Federal Register by using the article search feature at: 
www.federalregister.gov. Specifically, through the advanced search 
feature at this site, you can limit your search to documents published 
by the Department.

Frank T. Brogan,
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary and delegated the duties of the 
Assistant Secretary, Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy 
Development delegated the duties of the Assistant Secretary, Office of 
Postsecondary Education.
[FR Doc. 2018-02955 Filed 2-13-18; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4000-01-P