Can We Disburse Title IV Aid To Students Enrolled In Alternative Skills Assessment Courses Due to COVID-19?

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Scenario: Our school offers trade programs, such as welding, diesel, automotive, aviation, and machining. We are considering a skills assessment course for students in these programs in order to satisfy program learning outcomes during the COVID-19 outbreak. The courses would be an alternative for students who otherwise need to come on campus for coursework which is normally completed in person.

Answer: No. According to guidance NASFAA has received from the U.S. Department of Education (ED), Title IV aid may not be awarded or disbursed for assessments of students’ knowledge and or skills. Competency-based approaches are allowed, but only within the context of a program of instruction that is being offered and in which the student is participating. For more on competency-based educational programs, see Volume 2, Chapter 2 of the FSA Handbook.

If students in this scenario are not allowed to continue their program via online/distance education courses due to the COVID-19 interruption, these students are either withdrawals or can be placed on Title IV-approved leaves of absence (LOAs) according to guidance in the March 5, 2020 Electronic Announcement. Note the exceptions to the Title IV-approved LOA in AskRegs Q&A, Must It Be a Title IV-Approved Leave Of Absence To Qualify Under the COVID-19 Guidance?

 

 

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