Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act

The Drug- Free Schools and Campuses Regulation (EDGAR Part 86) lay out several requirements with which all Institutions of Higher Education receiving any form of federal funding must comply, one of which is a biennial review.

The regulations’ structure and format provide enough flexibility that a campus can tailor its biennial review and report to suit the particular circumstances of the campus and provide a springboard for a thorough review, evaluation, and adaptation of its AOD prevention program.

Regulation Requirements

AOD Prevention Program: IHEs receiving Federal funds or financial assistance must develop and implement a program to prevent the unlawful possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol by students and employees. The program must include annual notification of the following: standards of conflict; a description of sanctions for violating federal, state, and local law and campus policy; a description of health risks associated with AOD use; a description of treatment options; and a biennial review of the program’s effectiveness and the consistency of the enforcement of sanctions.

Certification: For certain forms of federal funding or assistance, IHEs must certify that they have an AOD prevention program; the certification I is included commonly in the “Representations and Certifications” section of an application or proposal.

Requirement to Comply: IHEs must provide a copy of their biennial report to the U.S. Department of Education or its representative on request. The Secretary or his/her designee may review the report and supporting documentation as necessary and, where an IHE is noncompliant, may take action ranging from providing technical assistance to help the campus come into compliance to terminating all forms of federal financial assistance.

Other Legal Obligations: IHEs also may be subject to related requirements under state and federal law and judicial rulings. IHEs should seek advice on this point from the institution’s general counsel or other relevant national resources.

Annual Notification: To comply with Part 86 regulations, IHEs must notify all students and employees annually of certain information.

The notification must include the following:

  1. Standards of conduct
  2. Possible legal sanctions and penalties
  3. Statements of the health risks associated with AOD abuse
  4. The IHE’s AOD programs available to students, staff, and faculty
  5. Disciplinary sanctions for violations of the standards of conduct.

IHEs must make the notification in writing and in a manner that ensures all students and employees receive it.

Biennial Review

Content of Review: To comply with the regulations, every two years an IHE must conduct a review of its AOD program to determine effectiveness and the consistency of sanction enforcement, in order to identify and implement any necessary changes. The Department of Education recommends that IHEs conduct the biennial review in even-numbered years and focus their report on the preceding academic years.

Format of Report: The regulations do not specify how IHEs must conduct their reviews or how they should structure their reports. IHEs therefore have leeway to conduct their reviews in ways that best meet the needs and circumstances of their campuses.

Many campuses that have conducted successful and productive biennial reviews have included program inventories, policy inventories and enforcement analyses. Their reports have included supporting documentation for each of these categories, such as descriptions or copies of the programs and policies, procedures for annual notification, and description of and supporting documentation for the means of assessing program effectiveness and enforcement consistency.