Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Passed House without amendment (06/02/2004)

(This measure has not been amended since it was introduced. The summary has been expanded because action occurred on the measure.)

Priorities for Graduate Studies Act of 2004 - Amends the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA) to revise requirements for Graduate and Postsecondary Improvement Programs (title VII), and to reauthorize appropriations for some of such programs through FY 2009.

(Sec. 2) Revises the Jacob K. Javits fellowship program. Directs the Secretary of Education to give grant priority to institutions of higher education (IHEs) for fellowships to students in advanced linguistic studies and courses that prepare teachers to teach students with limited English proficiency. Permits IHEs to allow fellowship recipients an interruption of study due to active duty military service or a personal or family member illness. Revises requirements for allocation of fellowships. Directs the Secretary to ensure that one member of the fellowship board will be from a minority-serving institution. Reauthorizes appropriations through FY 2009.

(Sec. 3) Revises the program of graduate assistance in areas of national need. Directs the Secretary to give grant priority to IHEs to prepare mathematics, science and special education faculty who can train highly qualified mathematics, science, or special education teachers for service in elementary and secondary schools. Revises requirements relating to designation of areas of national need, stipends, and additional assistance. Reauthorizes appropriations through FY 2009.

(Sec. 4) Revises requirements for the Thurgood Marshall legal educational opportunity program. Revises activities for which the Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO) is to use program contract and grant funds provided by the Secretary to include: (1) assisting students to develop analytical skills and study methods; and (2) awarding such fellowships to eligible law school students who either participated in summer institutes and are enrolled in an accredited law school or have successfully completed a comparable summer institute certified by CLEO. Revises types of program services to provide that undergraduate preparatory courses be in analytical skills and study methods. Reauthorizes appropriations through FY 2009.

(Sec. 5) Revises requirements for the Secretary's Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education program contracts and grants. Authorizes consideration of applications for projects relating to: (1) the needs of nontraditional student populations; (2) distance education delivery through communications technology; and (3) expanded opportunities to enter and reenter postsecondary institutions and pursue study programs tailored to individual needs. Includes among special projects international partnerships with postsecondary institutions abroad. Reauthorizes appropriations through FY 2009.

Eliminates continuation awards under certain parts of title VII of HEA.

(Sec. 6) Eliminates the Urban Community Service program (part C of title VII of HEA).

(Sec. 7) Revises requirements for demonstration projects to ensure that students with disabilities receive a quality higher education. Includes among authorized project activities developing innovative, effective, and efficient teaching methods and strategies to: (1) ensure such students' smooth transition from high school to postsecondary education; and (2) enable faculty and administrators to provide accessible distance education programs or classes to enhance such students' access to higher education. Requires project grant applications to describe how the IHE will work to replicate the best practices of IHEs with demonstrated success in serving students with disabilities. Reauthorizes appropriations through FY 2009.