The Department of Education proposed regulations last week that would enable high schools to have “rigorous” courses endorsed as such by the department several years into the future.
Under the proposed changes, published in the Federal Register on Aug. 7, high school students planning to apply for federal Academic Competitiveness Grants for use in college could plan ahead and take enough rigorous precollegiate classes to qualify.
Current rules allow the label of rigorous to be applied only to courses that will be offered during the immediate next school year.
Academic Competitiveness Grants provide up to $750 for college freshmen and up to $1,300 for sophomores, and are available to Pell Grant-eligible students who take what is deemed a rigorous high school curriculum.
Separate proposed changes would make it easier for colleges to administer the Academic Competitiveness Grants and the Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent, or SMART, grants. Additional proposed changes would provide a process for colleges to suggest additional majors that would qualify for SMART grants.
The regulation is part of a Bush administration push to make high school coursework more demanding. Comments on the proposed regulations are due by Sept. 6.
A version of this article appeared in the August 15, 2007 edition of Education Week