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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 98-727



[22 PA. CODE CH. 44]

Program Standards and Eligibility Criteria for the Higher Education Equal Opportunity Act

[28 Pa.B. 2148]

   The State Board of Education (Board) proposes to amend Chapter 44 (relating to program standards and eligibility criteria for the Higher Education Equal Opportunity Act) to read as set forth in Annex A, under the authority of sections 3 and 4 of the Higher Education Equal Opportunity Act (act) (24 P. S. §§ 2510-303 and 2510-304).

   Chapter 44 governs the responsibility of institutions of higher education to administer counseling and tutorial programs (commonly referred to as Act 101 programs) for educationally- and economically-disadvantaged students provided for in the act (24 P. S. §§ 2510-301--2510-305) and the eligibility of students for participation in those programs. Proposed amendments to § 44.4(a)(1) (relating to eligible students) are designed to amend the income eligibility criteria from one based on a Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) determined adjusted gross income adjusted annually by a percentage of growth in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) to one based on a percentage of the poverty guidelines as determined annually by the United States Department of Health and Human Services.


   The purpose of amending § 44.4(a)(1) is to employ a measure of income eligibility designed to reflect growth (or decline) in income for students and families for whom the act was designed to serve. Current measures of income eligibility do not as accurately reflect the economics of poverty-level and low income families. A multiple of Federally-determined poverty guideline is employed in a number of State-administered programs designed to serve a similar clientele. Two hundred percent of poverty is proposed because it most accurately reflects the maximum income level for participation in Act 101 programs at the time Chapter 44 was originally promulgated. The definition of CPI is proposed to be deleted because the CPI will no longer be applicable to the regulations.

Affected Parties

   The proposed amendments will benefit current and potential college and university students participating in institutional the act programs.

Cost and Paperwork Estimates

   Proposed amendments to § 44.4(a)(1) will not substantially alter paperwork, accounting or reporting requirements already in place.

Effective Date

   These proposed amendments will become effective upon final publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

Sunset Date

   The effectiveness of Chapter 44, including § 44.4(a)(1), will be reviewed by the Board every 4 years, in accordance with the Board's policy and practice respecting all regulations of the Board. Thus, no sunset date is necessary.

Regulatory Review

   Under section 5(a) of the Regulatory Review Act (71 P. S. § 745.5(a)), on April 28, 1998, the Board submitted a copy of these proposed amendments to the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) and to the Chairpersons of the House and Senate Committees on Education. In addition to submitting the proposed amendments, the Board has provided IRRC and the Committees with a copy of a detailed Regulatory Analysis Form prepared by the Board in compliance with Executive Order 1996-1, ''Regulatory Review and Promulgation.'' A copy of this material is available to the public upon request.

   Under section 5(g) of the Regulatory Review Act, if IRRC has objections to any portion of the proposed amendments, it will notify the Board within 10 days of the close of the Committees' review period. The notification shall specify the regulatory review criteria which have not been met by that portion. The Regulatory Review Act specifies detailed procedures for review, prior to final publication of the amendments, by the Board, the General Assembly and the Governor of objections raised.

Public Comments and Contact Person

   Interested persons are invited to submit written comments, suggestions or objections regarding this proposal to Peter H. Garland, Executive Director, State Board of Education, 333 Market Street, Harrisburg, PA 17126-0333 within 30 days of publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. Persons needing additional information regarding this proposal may contact Peter H. Garland at (717) 787-3787.

   Persons with disabilities needing an alternative means of providing public comment may make arrangements by calling Dr. Garland at (717) 787-3787 or TDD (717) 787-7367.

   Alternative formats of the proposed amendments (for example braille, large print, cassette tape) can be made available to members of the public upon request to Dr. Garland at the telephone and TDD numbers listed in the preceding paragraph.

Executive Director

   Fiscal Note:  6-263. No fiscal impact; (8) recommends adoption.

Annex A





§ 44.2.  Definitions.

   The following words and terms, when used in this chapter, have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

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   [CPI--The Consumer Price Index as determined and published by the Federal government.]

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§ 44.4.  Eligible students.

   (a)  A bona fide domiciliary of this Commonwealth who is attending an institution which is an eligible grant applicant under § 44.3 (relating to eligible grant applicants) and who is determined to be economically and educationally disadvantaged under this section is eligible for participation in the program. To be eligible for participation, a student shall meet the following criteria. The student shall be:

   (1)  Economically disadvantaged by having [resources for higher education derived from an adjusted annual family income of $18,750 or less as defined in Higher Education Assistance Agency procedures for calculating student financial aid] an annual family income equal to or less than 200% of the family income level established by the United States Bureau of the Census for determining poverty status and published by the United States Department of Health and Human Services in the Federal Register. The [Secretary will annually revise the family income level by a factor that is 25% of the adjusted annual most recent 12-month change in the CPI, rounded to the nearest $50. The revision factor used and the revised adjusted] annual family income to be used to recruit students who will enter the program on or after July 1 of every year beginning in [1993] 1997 will be provided to institutions by the Secretary by [January 15] March 31 of the same year and will be published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin by [January 31] April 15 of the same year. The Secretary's [determinations and notifications] notification under this section will comply with this chapter and will not be subject to the regulatory review procedures under section 5 of the Regulatory Review Act (71 P. S. § 745.5).

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[Pa.B. Doc. No. 98-727. Filed for public inspection May 8, 1998, 9:00 a.m.]

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