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Constitution Day is just around the corner!

September 17th of each year is designated as Constitution Day.As required by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2005 (Pub. L. 108–447, signed into law on December 8, 2004), schools that receive Federal funding in a Federal fiscal year (e.g., Title English: Detail of Preamble to Constitution of...IV Federal Student Aid) are required to “hold an educational program on the United States Constitution on September 17 of such year for the students served by the educational institution.’’ The regulation pertaining to this requirement is in the Federal Register dated May 24, 2005.

While the U.S. Department of Education (ED) does not stipulate what the requirements of such a program on Constitution Day should include, it does offer some resources in the Federal Register. Some of these may include such sources as the Library of Congress’ American Memory Web page, as well as the National Archives for information on the Constitution, (for example a scanned copy of the Constitution), etc. Other resources that one may use could include ED’s Federal Registry for Educational Excellence (FREE) Web site to search for topics on Constitution Day, in addition to such organizations as the National Constitution Center (a non-profit, non-partisan organization) or the National History Education Clearinghouse to search for further program ideas.

It is important to note that this requirement is not one that ED delegates to the financial aid offices on campus. (For example, at some institutions there are other departments on campus that also receive Federal funding.) It is an institutional responsibility. The educational program may be simple or sophisticated, depending upon your institution. You may have a class on the Constitution, provide a link to the Constitution and have a quiz, or perhaps have the Constitution read aloud by faculty or staff and/or students in a common area. Some schools perhaps will utilize their faculty, their academic departments, or student services offices to coordinate or assist with an appropriate program. However, with the creativity that financial aid professionals are known for, it is certain that schools will be able to get some helpful thoughts from their own ingenious staff in financial aid on how to make this year’s Constitution Day program interesting and successful.


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