Increasing Qualified Personnel to Work in the Field of Special Education

Pre-Scholarship Agreements and Exit Certifications

Dear Colleague Letter: Pre-Scholarship Agreement and Exit Certification (July 22, 2015)

According to the service obligation regulations in 34 CFR § 304.23, Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) are required to provide scholars with Pre-Scholarship Agreements and Exit Certifications, which include all of the terms and conditions of the Personnel Development Program funding that the scholars must meet, especially the service obligation. Some IHEs, however, have failed to provide complete and accurate documentation to all of their scholars or do not have a record of having done so.

OSEP has received complaints from scholars who have received debt collection letters claiming that they have not performed or are unqualified to perform the necessary service obligation. These scholars have alleged that they should not be bound by the service obligation requirements for the following reasons:

  • The IHE did not provide Pre-Scholarship Agreements or Exit Certifications;
  • The IHE provided vague or inaccurate Pre-Scholarship Agreements or Exit Certifications; and
  • The IHE provided Pre-Scholarship Agreements or Exit Certifications that included erroneous requirements.

To eliminate these problems and to ensure accuracy, OSEP now requires IHEs to use the U.S. Department of Education's OMB-approved (OMB Control Number: 1820-0686; Expiration: 05/31/2017) templates for Pre-Scholarship Agreements and Exit Certifications. IHEs and scholars must complete and sign the documents in hard copy. IHEs must also disseminate copies of the current regulations, 34 CFR part 304, and the frequently asked questions (FAQs) to scholars. IHEs must scan and upload the files of signed Pre-Scholarship Agreement and Exit Certification forms at https://pdp.ed.gov/OSEP/logon/Login.

Please note that, in accordance with EDGAR § 80.42, IHEs continue to be responsible for maintaining Pre-Scholarship Agreements and Exit Certifications for no less than three years after the grant has ended. Note that IHEs may be responsible for repayment of grant funds in cases where they do not have a signed Pre-Scholarship Agreement or Exit Certification for each scholar.

Select the link below to access the Dear Colleague letter dated July 22, 2015: Dear Colleague letter (link to PDF)

Select the link(s) below to access copies of the templates for Pre-Scholarship Agreements and Exit Certifications.

Pre-Scholarship Agreement
Exit Certification
Pre-Scholarship Agreement (fillable pdf)
Exit Certification (fillable pdf)

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