Department of Education and INS Plan to Enact Computer Matching Program to Verify Some Students’ Immigrant Status

The Department of Education soon plans to utilize a computer matching program with the Immigration and Naturalization Service to verify the immigrant status of alien applicants seeking student aid. This plan is pursuant to the Computer Matching and Privacy Protection Act of 1988 and the Office of Management and Budget Guidelines on the Conduct of Matching Programs.

The matching program will enable the Department of Education to verify the immigrant status of alens seeking assistance as authorized by Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965. These forms of assistance include: the Federal Pell Grant Program, the Federal Perkins Loan Program; the Federal Work-Study Program; the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant Program; the Federal Family Education Loan Program; the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program; the Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership Program; and Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs.

The INS is authorized under the authority of Section 103 of the Immigration and Nationality Act to confirm immigrant status from the Alien Status Verification Index (ASVI).

Authorized individuals from the Department of Education will submit electronically the alien registration number and date of birth of each alien applicant for Title IV assistance. The INS will then search the ASVI for a match of records. When a match is found, INS will forward the immigrant status of the applicant to the Department of Education. The Department will then either independently verify the information, or, according to the Department of Education, determine “in accordance with guidance issued by the Director of the Office of Management and Budget that (i) the information is limited to identification and amount of benefits paid by INS under a Federal benefit program; and (ii) there is a high degree of confidence that the information provided to ED is accurate.”

Alien applicants will have the opportunity to contest the information within 30 days of receiving the notice and 30 days from the day their receipt of the notice has expired.

This matching program will become effective 40 days after an approved copy of the agreement is sent to Congress and the Office of Management and Budget. Public comments on this notice may be sent to: Ms. Edith Bell, Management and Program Analyst, U.S. Department of Education, Federal Student Aid, Union Center Plaza, 830 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20002-5345

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