In the Matter of                             Docket No. 98-47-SP

DONNELLY COLLEGE,                        Student Financial    Assistance Proceeding
Respondent.                PRCN: 199720713466

Appearances:     Jeanne Gorman Rau, Esq., and Joseph F. Reardon, Esq., Kansas City, KS, for Respondent.

Stephen M. Kraut, Esq., Office of the General Counsel, United States Department of Education, Washington, D.C., for Student Financial Assistance Programs.

Before:    Richard I. Slippen, Administrative Judge


    Donnelly College (Donnelly) is a two-year community college located in Kansas City, Kansas. Donnelly's mission is to serve an economically and educationally disadvantaged student population. On February 11, 1998, the Office of Student Financial Assistance Programs (SFAP) of the United States Department of Education (Department) issued a final program review determination (FPRD) finding that during the period of July 1, 1989, through March 10, 1998, Donnelly violated the institutional eligibility requirements of Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (Title IV), 20 U.S.C. §§ 1070 et seq, 1088 et seq, and its implementing regulations.

    Findings 1 and 2 are not before me, as SFAP did not seek liability for these findings. Additionally, in its reply brief, SFAP stated that Findings 5, 15, and 16 had been resolved and that no liability is now sought for these findings.

Finding No. 3: Remedial Coursework Requirements Not Met

    To be eligible to receive Title IV financial aid assistance, an eligible student must be enrolled in an eligible program. 34 C.F.R. § 668.7(a)(1)(i). To be an eligible program, the educational program must lead to a degree, or be at least a two-year academic program that is acceptable for full credit towards a bachelor's degree, be at least a one year training program that leads to a certificate, degree, or other recognized educational credential that prepares a student for gainful employment in a recognized occupation. 34 C.F.R. § 668.8. Students attending an eligible program are allowed to receive Title IV assistance for remedial coursework that is a component of an eligible educational program. 34 C.F.R. § 668.20.

    The FPRD charges that Donnelly's Basic Education for Life-Long Learning (B.E.L.L.) Program is an ineligible program. SFAP asserts that students enrolled in the B.E.L.L. program are not enrolled in a degree program. According to SFAP, the B.E.L.L. program is a stand-alone, remedial coursework program. Donnelly asserts that the B.E.L.L. program was established to aid students in their academic development in order to pursue courses leading to a college degree. According to Donnelly, the B.E.L.L. program offered remedial coursework for students who have been educationally and economically deprived. Donnelly argues that its B.E.L.L. program has always been an integral part of the associate degree program at the institution. Donnelly states that students enrolled in B.E.L.L. were considered students enrolled in Donnelly College and that there was no distinction between students taking B.E.L.L. courses and students taking other Donnelly courses. Donnelly also states that students take B.E.L.L. courses to develop the necessary academic skills to take credit courses.
    In its 1991-92 _1995-96 catalogs, Donnelly described the program as follows: