§ 694.8Under what conditions may the Secretary approve a request from a Partnership applying for a GEAR UP grant to waive a portion of the matching requirement?
(a) The Secretary may approve a Partnership applicant's request for a waiver of up to 75 percent of the matching requirement for up to two years if the applicant demonstrates in its application a significant economic hardship that stems from a specific, exceptional, or uncontrollable event, such as a natural disaster, that has a devastating effect on the members of the Partnership and the community in which the project would operate.
(1) The Secretary may approve a Partnership applicant's request to waive up to 50 percent of the matching requirement for up to two years if the applicant demonstrates in its application a pre-existing and an on-going significant economic hardship that precludes the applicant from meeting its matching requirement.
(2) In determining whether an applicant is experiencing an on-going economic hardship that is significant enough to justify a waiver under this paragraph, the Secretary considers documentation of such factors as:
(i) Severe distress in the local economy of the community to be served by the grant (e.g., there are few employers in the local area, large employers have left the local area, or significant reductions in employment in the local area).
(ii) Local unemployment rates that are higher than the national average.
(iii) Low or decreasing revenues for State and County governments in the area to be served by the grant.
(iv) Significant reductions in the budgets of institutions of higher education that are participating in the grant.
(v) Other data that reflect a significant economic hardship for the geographical area served by the applicant.
(3) At the time of application, the Secretary may provide tentative approval of an applicant's request for a waiver under paragraph (b)(1) of this section for all remaining years of the project period. Grantees that receive tentative approval of a waiver for more than two years under this paragraph must submit to the Secretary every two years by such time as the Secretary may direct documentation that demonstrates that—
(i) The significant economic hardship upon which the waiver was granted still exists; and
(ii) The grantee tried diligently, but unsuccessfully, to obtain contributions needed to meet the matching requirement.
(c) The Secretary may approve a Partnership applicant's request in its application to match its contributions to its scholarship fund, established under section 404E of the HEA, on the basis of two non-Federal dollars for every one Federal dollar of GEAR UP funds.
(d) The Secretary may approve a request by a Partnership applicant that has three or fewer institutions of higher education as members to waive up to 70 percent of the matching requirement if the Partnership applicant includes—
(1) A fiscal agent that is eligible to receive funds under title V, or Part B of title III, or section 316 or 317 of the HEA, or a local educational agency;
(2) Only participating schools with a 7th grade cohort in which at least 75 percent of the students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch under the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act; and
(3) Only local educational agencies in which at least 50 percent of the students enrolled are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch under the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act.