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e-CFR data is current as of January 15, 2021


34 CFR--PART 600

View Printed Federal Register page 85 FR 54808 in PDF format.

Amendment(s) published September 2, 2020, in 85 FR 54808

Effective Dates: July 1, 202120210701-->-->

2. Section 600.2 is amended by:

a. Adding, in alphabetical order, a definition for “Academic engagement”.

b. Revising the definitions of “Clock hour”, “Correspondence course”, “Credit hour”, “Distance education”, and “Incarcerated student”.

c. Adding, in alphabetical order, a definition for “Juvenile justice facility”.

d. Revising the definition “Nonprofit institution”.

e. Removing the authority citation at the end of the section.

The additions and revisions read as follows:

§600.2   Definitions.

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Academic engagement: Active participation by a student in an instructional activity related to the student's course of study that—

(1) Is defined by the institution in accordance with any applicable requirements of its State or accrediting agency;

(2) Includes, but is not limited to—

(i) Attending a synchronous class, lecture, recitation, or field or laboratory activity, physically or online, where there is an opportunity for interaction between the instructor and students;

(ii) Submitting an academic assignment;

(iii) Taking an assessment or an exam;

(iv) Participating in an interactive tutorial, webinar, or other interactive computer-assisted instruction;

(v) Participating in a study group, group project, or an online discussion that is assigned by the institution; or

(vi) Interacting with an instructor about academic matters; and

(3) Does not include, for example—

(i) Living in institutional housing;

(ii) Participating in the institution's meal plan;

(iii) Logging into an online class or tutorial without any further participation; or

(iv) Participating in academic counseling or advisement.

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Clock hour: (1) A period of time consisting of—

(i) A 50- to 60-minute class, lecture, or recitation in a 60-minute period;

(ii) A 50- to 60-minute faculty-supervised laboratory, shop training, or internship in a 60-minute period;

(iii) Sixty minutes of preparation in a correspondence course; or

(iv) In distance education, 50 to 60 minutes in a 60-minute period of attendance in—

(A) A synchronous or asynchronous class, lecture, or recitation where there is opportunity for direct interaction between the instructor and students; or

(B) An asynchronous learning activity involving academic engagement in which the student interacts with technology that can monitor and document the amount of time that the student participates in the activity.

(2) A clock hour in a distance education program does not meet the requirements of this definition if it does not meet all accrediting agency and State requirements or if it exceeds an agency's or State's restrictions on the number of clock hours in a program that may be offered through distance education.

(3) An institution must be capable of monitoring a student's attendance in 50 out of 60 minutes for each clock hour under this definition.

Correspondence course: (1) A course provided by an institution under which the institution provides instructional materials, by mail or electronic transmission, including examinations on the materials, to students who are separated from the instructors. Interaction between instructors and students in a correspondence course is limited, is not regular and substantive, and is primarily initiated by the student.

(2) If a course is part correspondence and part residential training, the Secretary considers the course to be a correspondence course.

(3) A correspondence course is not distance education.

Credit hour: Except as provided in 34 CFR 668.8(k) and (l), a credit hour is an amount of student work defined by an institution, as approved by the institution's accrediting agency or State approval agency, that is consistent with commonly accepted practice in postsecondary education and that—

(1) Reasonably approximates not less than—

(i) One hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out-of-class student work each week for approximately fifteen weeks for one semester or trimester hour of credit, or ten to twelve weeks for one quarter hour of credit, or the equivalent amount of work over a different period of time; or

(ii) At least an equivalent amount of work as required in paragraph (1)(i) of this definition for other academic activities as established by the institution, including laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours; and

(2) Permits an institution, in determining the amount of work associated with a credit hour, to take into account a variety of delivery methods, measurements of student work, academic calendars, disciplines, and degree levels.

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Distance education: (1) Education that uses one or more of the technologies listed in paragraphs (2)(i) through (iv) of this definition to deliver instruction to students who are separated from the instructor or instructors and to support regular and substantive interaction between the students and the instructor or instructors, either synchronously or asynchronously.

(2) The technologies that may be used to offer distance education include—

(i) The internet;

(ii) One-way and two-way transmissions through open broadcast, closed circuit, cable, microwave, broadband lines, fiber optics, satellite, or wireless communications devices;

(iii) Audio conference; or

(iv) Other media used in a course in conjunction with any of the technologies listed in paragraphs (2)(i) through (iii) of this definition.

(3) For purposes of this definition, an instructor is an individual responsible for delivering course content and who meets the qualifications for instruction established by an institution's accrediting agency.

(4) For purposes of this definition, substantive interaction is engaging students in teaching, learning, and assessment, consistent with the content under discussion, and also includes at least two of the following—

(i) Providing direct instruction;

(ii) Assessing or providing feedback on a student's coursework;

(iii) Providing information or responding to questions about the content of a course or competency;

(iv) Facilitating a group discussion regarding the content of a course or competency; or

(v) Other instructional activities approved by the institution's or program's accrediting agency.

(5) An institution ensures regular interaction between a student and an instructor or instructors by, prior to the student's completion of a course or competency—

(i) Providing the opportunity for substantive interactions with the student on a predictable and scheduled basis commensurate with the length of time and the amount of content in the course or competency; and

(ii) Monitoring the student's academic engagement and success and ensuring that an instructor is responsible for promptly and proactively engaging in substantive interaction with the student when needed on the basis of such monitoring, or upon request by the student.

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Incarcerated student: A student who is serving a criminal sentence in a Federal, State, or local penitentiary, prison, jail, reformatory, work farm, juvenile justice facility, or other similar correctional institution. A student is not considered incarcerated if that student is in a half-way house or home detention or is sentenced to serve only weekends. For purposes of Pell Grant eligibility under 34 CFR 668.32(c)(2)(ii), a student who is incarcerated in a juvenile justice facility, or in a local or county facility, is not considered to be incarcerated in a Federal or State penal institution, regardless of which governmental entity operates or has jurisdiction over the facility, including the Federal Government or a State, but is considered incarcerated for the purposes of determining costs of attendance under section 472 of the HEA in determining eligibility for and the amount of the Pell Grant.

Juvenile justice facility: A public or private residential facility that is operated primarily for the care and rehabilitation of youth who, under State juvenile justice laws—

(1) Are accused of committing a delinquent act;

(2) Have been adjudicated delinquent; or

(3) Are determined to be in need of supervision.

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Nonprofit institution: An institution that—

(1)(i) Is owned and operated by one of more nonprofit corporations or associations, no part of the net earnings of which benefits any private shareholder or individual;

(ii) Is legally authorized to operate as a nonprofit organization by each State in which it is physically located; and

(iii) Is determined by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service to be an organization to which contributions are tax-deductible in accordance with section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. 501(c)(3)); or

(2) For a foreign institution—

(i) An institution that is owned and operated only by one or more nonprofit corporations or associations; and

(ii)(A) If a recognized tax authority of the institution's home country is recognized by the Secretary for purposes of making determinations of an institution's nonprofit status for title IV purposes, is determined by that tax authority to be a nonprofit educational institution; or

(B) If no recognized tax authority of the institution's home country is recognized by the Secretary for purposes of making determinations of an institution's nonprofit status for title IV purposes, the foreign institution demonstrates to the satisfaction of the Secretary that it is a nonprofit educational institution.

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