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Experimental Sites Initiative

Experiments Announced in the July 31, 2014 Federal Register

Below is the list of experiments described in the Federal Register Notice. For more details about the experiments, refer to the July 31, 2014 Federal Register Notice. To view a preliminary list of participants in each experiment please click on the experiment name below.

Prior Learning Assessment - Provides that a student's Title IV cost of attendance (COA) can include costs incurred by the student for assessments of prior learning and that a student's Federal Pell Grant enrollment status may, with limitations, take into account a student's efforts to prepare materials for a prior learning assessment.

Competency-Based Education - Provides flexibility in how institutions provide Federal student aid to students enrolled in self-paced competency-based education programs.

Limited Direct Assessment - Provides flexibility for an institution to provide a mix of direct assessment coursework and credit or clock hour coursework in the same program.

Federal Work Study (FWS) for Near-Peer Counseling - Provides flexibility for institutions to compensate FWS students, who are employed as "near-peer" counselors to high school students, solely with Federal funds.

Experiments Announced in the October 27, 2011 Federal Register

The Department of Education approved the following seven experiments to start in the 2012-13 award year.  The School Eligibility Services Group in the School Participation Division of Program Compliance executed the Amendments to the Program Participation Agreements.   For more details about the experiments,  refer to the October 27, 2011 Federal Register Notice.

By clicking on the experiment names below you can access a list of schools currently participating in that particular experiment. Please email experimentalsites@ed.gov if you find any discrepancies.

Pell Grant Experiments

Eligibility of students with bachelor’s degrees who enroll in vocational or career programs.
The experiment would allow at least some students with a bachelor’s degree to receive not more than one full scheduled Pell Grant award, over no more than two years, for enrollment in a vocational/career program of study of one year or less.

Eligibility of students enrolled in certain short-term training programs.
The experiment would allow Pell Grants to be received by at least some otherwise eligible students who are enrolled in a vocational program of at least eight weeks in length and that, at a minimum, include at least 150 clock hours of instructional time.  The institution must provide training needed to meet local or regional workforce needs.

Direct Loan Program Experiments

Single disbursement of a one-term loan for study abroad students.
The experiment would allow a single disbursement of a one-term loan for some study abroad students attending participating institutions even if the institution’s cohort default rate equals or exceeds five percent.

Early disbursement for study abroad students and for students enrolled in foreign institutions.
The experiment would permit participating domestic institutions to disburse Direct Loan funds for some students enrolled in approved study abroad programs as early as 30 days prior to the first day of classes of the student’s enrollment for the loan period.  Similarly, participating foreign institutions would be able to disburse Direct Loan funds as early as 30 days prior to the first day of classes of the student’s enrollment for the loan period.

Unequal disbursements.
The experiment would waive the requirement that Direct Loans be disbursed in at least two substantially equal disbursements and would allow, under certain conditions, unequal disbursements of Direct Loan proceeds.

Limiting unsubsidized loan amounts.
The experiment would allow an institution to establish a written policy where for students enrolled in a particular educational program or on some other categorical basis (e.g., students living at home or first-time freshmen), it would reduce by at least $2,000 (the amount of the most recent statutory increase) the amount of an unsubsidized Direct Loan that the otherwise eligible student would receive, or eliminate the unsubsidized Direct Loan completely.

PLUS Loan Experiment

PLUS Loans for parents of students with intellectual disabilities.
The experiment would permit participating institutions to originate and disburse Direct PLUS loans to the otherwise eligible parents of dependent students with intellectual disabilities, as defined in the Department’s regulations at 34CFR 668.231(a).