On August 18, 2017, the Department announced in the Federal Register new deadlines for institutions to submit an alternate earnings appeal. The first deadline for schools which intend to submit an alternative earnings appeal has been moved to Friday, October 6, 2017. By the deadline all schools which plan to submit an appeal must submit a notice of intent to ED’s Gainful Employment Operations Team. Click here for instructions for filing the notice of intent.

Once you’ve submitted a proper notice of intent, put February 1, 2018 on your calendar. That’s the deadline to submit your school’s appeal.

Institutions that have already submitted a notice of intent to file an alternate earnings appeal, or an alternate earnings appeal, do not have to resubmit those items or amend their alternate earnings appeal in connection with the modified submission requirements. Institutions that wish to supplement an alternate earnings appeal that has already been submitted may do so, and should contact the Department to make those arrangements on or before October 6, 2017. 

A recent electronic announcement provided the following additional information.

“For alternate earnings appeals based on a graduate survey, the Department will not enforce §668.406(b)(3) or (c) to the extent these provisions require that a graduate survey contain responses from all students that are not exempted under §668.404(e), nor will the Department require a 50 percent or greater response rate. Instead, the Department will evaluate all graduate surveys, regardless of response rate, provided the submissions include the number of responses, the response rate, and a nonresponse bias analysis, as well as any other information the Department requests to determine whether the survey responses are a statistically valid sample of the total cohort. For programs with fewer than 30 responses or response thresholds below 50 percent, the Department will take into account the response rate, the nonresponse bias, and any other information requested by the Secretary that indicates that the responses are a reliable measure of the program graduates’ true earnings.

For alternate earnings appeals based on data from State-sponsored data systems, the Department will not enforce §668.406(b)(3) or (d) to the extent these provisions require that an appeal include earnings data for all students that are not exempted under §668.404(e), nor will the Department enforce §668.406(d) to the extent that provision requires a 50 percent threshold to be met, or the earnings of 30 students to be included, before the Department will consider an alternate earnings appeal. Instead, the Department will consider the validity of appeals using State-sponsored data on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the response rate in conjunction with the particular circumstances of that program and its graduates.

 In modifying the alternate appeals submission requirements, the Department seeks to reduce the burden on institutions in conducting these appeals while still ensuring that institutions provide enough information for the Department to determine whether the program graduates for whom alternate earnings data are provided are a valid representation of the overall cohort.  Institutions must still submit the certifications and attestations required by §668.406(c)(2) and (d)(3), as applicable.  Institutions that do not timely submit either a notice of intent to appeal or an alternate earnings appeal, or the appeal is resolved unfavorably, whichever is earlier, must issue warnings to students under 34 CFR 668.410.”