Washington UPDATE: ED Plans New Requirements for Colleges and Universities

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Washington UPDATE: ED Plans New Requirements for Colleges and. Universities

Colleges and universities will have to enforce new rules for remedial-education students and gather new information on graduation rates and athletic spending under a series of new U.S. Education Department regulations.

The recently released rules outline how institutions must report graduation rates for students in accordance with legislation approved in 1991 and 1993. Under the rules, colleges must determine the percentage of students who graduated from a program within 150 percent of the normal period for a full-time student. For example, it would collect data on students who finish a four-year baccalaureate program within six years.

Another rule would change the ability-to-benefit provision (ATB), under which students who lack a high school diploma can receive financial aid if they have the "ability to benefit" from the education. Two-year colleges are among those most affected by this program, and most of the students involved need some form remedial education.

ATB students must take a rest to prove they can benefit from aid, and ED's rule says these tests must assess a student's grasp of basic skills at the secondary school level. The department also set a minimum passing score for tests approved by the department. Ability-to-benefit students would have to score close to the mean average for students with high school diplomas, the department says. …