20 U.S. Code § 1161k - Pilot programs to increase college persistence and success

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(a) Grants authorized
From the amounts appropriated under subsection (i), the Secretary is authorized to award grants in accordance with this section, on a competitive basis, to eligible institutions to enable the institutions to develop programs to increase the persistence and success of low-income college students.
(b) Applications
(1) In general
An eligible institution seeking a grant under this section shall submit an application to the Secretary at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Secretary may require. An eligible institution may submit an application to receive a grant under subsection (c) or (d) or both.
(2) Evaluation condition
Each eligible institution seeking a grant under this section shall agree to participate in the evaluation described in subsection (f).
(3) Priority for replication of evidence-based policies and practices
In awarding grants for the program under subsection (d), the Secretary shall give priority to applications submitted by eligible institutions that propose to replicate policies and practices that have proven effective in increasing persistence and degree completion by low-income students or students in need of developmental education.
(c) Pilot program to increase persistence and success in community colleges
(1) Definitions
In this subsection:
(A) Eligible institution
The term “eligible institution” means an institution of higher education, as defined in section 1001 of this title, that provides a one- or two-year program of study leading to a degree or certificate.
(B) Eligible student
The term “eligible student” means a student who—
(i) is eligible to receive assistance under section 1070a of this title;
(ii) is enrolled at least half-time;
(iii) is not younger than age 19;
(iv) is the parent of at least one dependent child, which dependent child is age 18 or younger;
(v) has a secondary school diploma or its recognized equivalent; and
(vi) does not have a degree or certificate from an institution of higher education.
(2) Uses of funds
(A) Support
The Secretary shall award grants under this subsection to eligible institutions to enable such institutions to provide additional monetary and nonmonetary support to eligible students to enable the eligible students to maintain enrollment and complete degree or certificate programs.
(B) Required uses
Each eligible institution receiving a grant under this subsection shall use the grant funds—
(i) to provide scholarships in accordance with paragraph (3); and
(ii) to provide counseling services in accordance with paragraph (4).
(C) Allowable uses of funds
Grant funds provided under this subsection may be used—
(i) to conduct outreach to make students aware of the scholarships and counseling services available under this subsection and to encourage the students to participate in the program assisted under this subsection; and
(ii) to provide incentives of $20 or less to applicants who complete the process of applying for assistance under this subsection, as compensation for the student’s time.
(3) Scholarship requirements
(A) In general
Each scholarship awarded under this subsection shall—
(i) be awarded for one academic year consisting of two semesters or the equivalent;
(ii) require the student to maintain, during the scholarship period, at least half-time enrollment and at least a 2.0 grade point average or the equivalent;
(iii) be awarded in the amount of $1,000 for each of two semesters (prorated for quarters or other equivalents), or $2,000 for an academic year;
(iv) not exceed the student’s cost of attendance, as defined in section 1087ll of this title; and
(v) be paid, for each of the two semesters, in increments of—
(I) $250 upon enrollment (prorated for quarters or other equivalents);
(II) $250 upon passing midterm examinations or comparable assessments (prorated for quarters or other equivalents); and
(III) $500 upon passing courses (prorated for quarters or other equivalents).
(B) Number
An eligible institution may award an eligible student not more than two scholarships under this subsection.
(4) Counseling services
(A) In general
Each eligible institution receiving a grant under this subsection shall use the grant funds to provide students at the institution with a counseling staff dedicated to students participating in the program under this subsection. Each such counselor shall—
(i) have a caseload of less than 125 students;
(ii) use a proactive, team-oriented approach to counseling;
(iii) hold a minimum of two meetings with each student each semester; and
(iv) provide referrals to and follow-up with other student services staff, including financial aid and career services.
(B) Counseling services availability
The counseling services provided under this subsection shall be available to participating students during the daytime and evening hours.
(d) Student success grant pilot program
(1) Definitions
(A) Eligible institution
In this subsection, the term “eligible institution” means an institution of higher education in which, during the three-year period preceding the year in which the institution is applying for a grant under this subsection, an average of not less than 50 percent of the institution’s entering first-year students are assessed as needing developmental courses to bring reading, writing, or mathematics skills up to college level.
(B) Eligible student
In this subsection, the term “eligible student” means a student who—
(i) is eligible to receive assistance under section 1070a of this title;
(ii) is a first-year student at the time of entering the program;
(iii) is assessed as needing developmental education to bring reading, writing, or mathematics skills up to college level; and
(iv) is selected by an eligible institution to participate in the program.
(2) Student success grant amount
The Secretary shall award grants under this subsection to eligible institutions in an amount equal to $1,500 multiplied by the number of students the institution selects to participate in the program in such year. An institution shall not select more than 200 students to participate in the program under this subsection during such year.
(3) Required uses
An eligible institution that receives a grant under this subsection shall use the grant funds to assign a student success coach to each first-year student participating in the program to provide intensive career and academic advising, ongoing personal help in navigating college services (such as financial aid and registration), and assistance in connecting to community resources that can help students overcome family and personal challenges to success. Student success coaches—
(A) shall work with not more than 50 new students during any academic period;
(B) may be employees of academic departments, student services offices, community-based organizations, or other entities as determined appropriate by the institution; and
(C) shall meet with each eligible student selected for the program before registration for courses.
(4) Allowable uses
An eligible institution that receives a grant under this subsection may use the grant funds to provide services and program innovations for students participating in the program, including the following:
(A) College and career success courses provided at no charge to participating students. These courses may cover college success topics, including how to take notes, how to study, how to take tests, and how to budget time, and may also include a substantial career exploration component. Institutions may use such courses to help students develop a college and career success plan, so that by the end of the first semester the students have a clear sense of their career goals and what classes to take to achieve such goals.
(B) Work-study jobs with private employers in the students’ fields of study.
(C) Learning communities that ensure that students participating in the program are clustered together for at least two courses beginning in the first semester after enrolling and have other opportunities to create and maintain bonds that allow them to provide academic and social support to each other.
(D) Curricular redesign, which may include such innovations as blended or accelerated remediation classes that help student success grant recipients to attain college-level reading, writing, or math skills (or a combination thereof) more rapidly than traditional remediation formats allow, and intensive skills refresher classes, offered prior to each semester, to help students who have tested into remedial coursework to reach entry level assessment scores for the postsecondary programs they wish to enter.
(E) Instructional support, such as learning labs, supplemental instruction, and tutoring.
(F) Assistance with support services, such as child care and transportation.
(5) Required non-Federal share
Each institution participating in the program under this subsection shall provide a non-Federal share of 25 percent of the amount of the grant to carry out the activities of the program. The non-Federal share under this subsection may be provided in cash or in kind.
(e) Period of grant
The Secretary may award a grant under subsection (c) or (d) of this section for a period of five years.
(f) Technical assistance and evaluation
(1) Contractor
From the funds appropriated under this section, the Secretary shall enter into a contract with one or more private, nonprofit entities to provide technical assistance to grantees and to conduct the evaluations required under paragraph (3).
(2) Evaluations
The evaluations required under paragraph (3) shall be conducted by entities that are capable of designing and carrying out independent evaluations that identify the impact of the activities carried out by eligible institutions under this section on improving persistence and success of student participants under this section.
(3) Conduct of evaluations
The Secretary shall conduct an evaluation of the impact of the persistence and success grant programs as follows:
(A) Program to increase persistence in community colleges
The evaluation of the program under subsection (c) shall be conducted using a random assignment research design with the following requirements:
(i) When students are recruited for the program, all students will be told about the program and the evaluation.
(ii) Baseline data will be collected from all applicants for assistance under subsection (c).
(iii) Students will be assigned randomly to two groups, which will consist of—
(I) a program group that will receive the scholarship and the additional counseling services; and
(II) a control group that will receive whatever regular financial aid and counseling services are available to all students at the institution of higher education.
(B) Student success grant program
Eligible institutions receiving a grant to carry out the program under subsection (d) shall work with the evaluator to track persistence and completion outcomes for students in such program, specifically the proportion of these students who take and complete developmental education courses, the proportion who take and complete college-level coursework, and the proportion who complete certificates and degrees. The data shall be broken down by gender, race, ethnicity, and age and the evaluator shall assist institutions in analyzing these data to compare program participants to comparable nonparticipants, using statistical techniques to control for differences in the groups.
(g) Report
The Secretary shall—
(1) provide a report to the authorizing committees that includes the evaluation and information on best practices and lessons learned during the pilot programs described in this section; and
(2) disseminate the report to the public by making the report available on the Department’s website.
(h) Supplement not supplant
Funds made available under this section shall be used to supplement and not supplant other Federal, State, and local funds available to the institution to carrying out the activities described in subsections (c) and (d).
(i) Authorization of appropriations
There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section such sums as may be necessary for fiscal year 2009 and each of the five succeeding fiscal years. The Secretary may use not more than two percent of the amounts appropriated to provide the technical assistance and conduct the evaluations required under subsection (f).


(Pub. L. 89–329, title VIII, § 820, as added Pub. L. 110–315, title VIII, § 801,Aug. 14, 2008, 122 Stat. 3404; amended Pub. L. 111–39, title VIII, § 801(5),July 1, 2009, 123 Stat. 1955.)

2009—Subsec. (d)(5). Pub. L. 111–39, § 801(5)(A), inserted “the” before “grant”.
Subsec. (f)(2). Pub. L. 111–39, § 801(5)(B), substituted “section” for “subpart” in two places.
Subsec. (h). Pub. L. 111–39, § 801(5)(C), substituted “used” for “use”.
Effective Date of 2009 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 111–39effective as if enacted on the date of enactment of Pub. L. 110–315(Aug. 14, 2008), see section 3 ofPub. L. 111–39, set out as a note under section 1001 of this title.

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