‘MAP-21’ Final Regulations Include Key Changes

Brenda GradyBy Brenda Grady, USA Funds Senior Policy Specialist

This month the U.S. Department of Education published final regulations to implement the provisions of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, or “MAP-21.” The Final Rule is in line with much of last year’s Interim Final Rule — but the latest regulations do include some key changes. Here are some highlights:

  • Provisions to extend to six years the maximum eligibility period for certain programs offered as two-year bachelor’s degree completion or special admissions associate degree programs.
  • Clarification regarding the reporting of a student’s subsidized loan eligibility. The academic year that a school should report is the same academic year that the school uses in calculating a student’s annual Stafford loan limit.
  • Modifications to the rounding process used to calculate the subsidized usage period. The Final Rule calls for rounding either up or down, as appropriate, to the nearest 10th of an academic year.
  • An amended requirement regarding the proration of a student’s subsidized usage period based on less-than-full-time enrollment, if that student received the full annual loan amount in a single payment period. The Final Rule reduces the subsidized usage period based on enrollment status.

The revised regulations are effective March 18, 2014. The majority of the rules for what often is referred to as the “150 percent rule,” however, are effective for first-time borrowers on or after July 1, 2013. The 150 percent rule eliminates subsidized Stafford loan eligibility for students who obtained subsidized Stafford loans for 150 percent of the published academic program length.

If you have questions about the MAP-21 Final Rule — or any other federal financial aid issue — contact USA Funds Ask PolicySM, using our online form. We’ll get back to you, usually within a business day.