Whether you’re getting ready to report Gainful Employment Program Data for the first time or a seasoned pro, use these simple tips to ensure you are reporting accurate information.

  • Report only students who received Title IV aid to attend your GE Programs.
  • Title IV loan debt, including Perkins loan debt, is not private loan debt and is not institutional debt. When calculating GE rates, the Department will include Title IV debt obtained from NSLDS. If an institution reports Title IV loan debt as part of private or institutional debt, the Title IV loan debt will be double-counted.
  • Carefully review your GE data during the reporting process to ensure that it is correct. If you find errors from previous years, go back and fix them promptly. Note that institutions are not limited to award year 2017-2018 for correcting errors – any errors in GE data previously reported must be corrected promptly after the errors are discovered.
  • GE Program Tracking functionality will remain unavailable for this upcoming reporting cycle. Institutions should review disbursement records sent to the Common Origination and Disbursement (COD) System, enrollment records sent to NSLDS, and the GE programs listed on their Program Participation Agreement (PPA) to ensure that they are reporting for all Title IV students enrolled in all GE programs by October 1, 2018.


Despite being labeled as “#FakeNews” by President Donald Trump, it appears that a memo leaked to the New York Times was the real deal. On August 14, the Department published a Federal Register notice of proposed rulemaking to rescind the gainful employment regulations which were enacted to ensure that certain programs lead to employment in a recognized occupation. Although the rules applied mostly to public community colleges and for-profit private colleges, opponents have long called for an elimination of the regulations and to have them apply to all college programs, including those at public and private colleges and universities. This has prompted Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to not only rescind the current regulations, but to update the College Scorecard, or a similar web-based tool, to provide program-level outcomes for all higher education programs, at all Title IV participating institutions regardless of their tax status or governance.

The public will have 30 days, until September 13, 2018 to provide comments on the subject. The only question is whether ED will try to produce final regulations by the October 31st master calendar deadline or not. If they produce final rules by then, they will have an effective date of July 1, 2019…Otherwise the can might just get kicked down the road for good.


The U.S. Department of Education’s Press Office released an official statement on the Department’s proposal to overhaul the Gainful Employment Regulations. The “draft” Notice of Proposed Rulemaking was published this morning after the document cleared the Office of Management and Budget.  The official notice will kick off a 30-day public comment period when it arrives in a few days.

U.S. Department of Education Proposes Overhaul of Gainful Employment Regulations

New approach will provide useful, transparent higher education data to students and treat all institutions fairly

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Department of Education today announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that proposes to rescind Gainful Employment (GE) regulations in order to provide useful, transparent higher education data to students and treat all institutions of higher education fairly.

“Students deserve useful and relevant data when making important decisions about their education post-high school,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. “That’s why instead of targeting schools simply by their tax status, this administration is working to ensure students have transparent, meaningful information about all colleges and all programs. Our new approach will aid students across all sectors of higher education and improve accountability.”

The Department continues to believe that data such as debt levels, expected earnings after graduation, completion rates, program cost, accreditation, and consistency with licensure requirements are important to consumers, but not just those students who are considering enrolling in a gainful employment program.  Therefore, in the NPRM the Department invites public comment concerning whether or not the Department should require institutions to disclose, on the program webpage, information about the program size, its completion rate, its cost, whether or not it is accredited, and whether the program meets the requirements for licensure in the State in which the institution is located.

In addition, to provide prospective students with important, actionable, and accurate information that could be used in college enrollment and borrowing decisions, the Department plans to update the College Scorecard or a similar web-based tool to provide program-level outcomes including, at a minimum, median debt and median earnings for all higher education programs, at all title IV participating institutions.  The Department believes that this will improve transparency by providing comparable information for all programs and helping students understand what earnings they might expect based on those of prior graduates.  This would also increase accountability of institutions by making it more difficult for institutions to misrepresent program outcomes, such as the earnings of prior graduates, since prospective students would have access to accurate data provided by the Secretary of Education.

The 30-day public comment period for these proposed regulations will begin once published in the Federal Register.  In the interim, an unofficial version of the proposed rule can be found here.


A draft of the US Department of Education’s plan to roll back the controversial gainful employment regulations has cleared the office of management and budget and will be published in the Federal Register shortly. This draft notice of proposed rulemaking outlines the Department’s plan to rescind the regulations. At the same time the department plans to include all post secondary programs on the college scorecard website or a similar website.

Be sure to sign up for our newsletter for more information.

In the meantime take a look at the draft NPRM detailing the changes.

— Read on


Last week the New York Times reported that they obtained a memo indicating that the Department of Education was planning on killing the Gainful Employment rules. Instead, the Department is allegedly planning to bolster information on the College Scorecard, which hasn’t historically included for-profit colleges. Not much else here to report at the moment since the Department has been silent on the issue. As of today, the Gainful Employment rules remain in effect. If the Department does indeed move forward with plans to scrap the GE rules, they’ll publish an official notice in the in the Federal Register. We’ll have to wait and see if this is #Fakenews or not.


We knew it was coming and as expected, last month the Department delayed another part of the Gainful Employment rules, this time until July 1, 2018. The delay will give the Department time to write new rules for Gainful Employment. While institutions must continue provide annually updated, gainful employment information on their websites for each gainful employment program using the department’s GE template, the delay impacts the more onerous disclosures schools with failing programs would have been required to begin posting and distributing to prospective students to notify them of failing programs. Those regulations require institutions subject to the GE regulations to include a disclosure template with information specified by the Department, or a link thereto, in their GE program promotional materials and to directly distribute the disclosure template to prospective students.


On April 30, 2018 ED released the Draft Gainful Employment (GE) Completers Lists for the 2016 Debt Measure Year. Institutions have 45 calendar days to submit corrections to the information included in the Draft GE Completers Lists. The 45-day corrections period will begin on Monday, April 30, 2018 and end at 11:59 p.m. ET on Wednesday, June 13, 2018. Wondering if you need to submit a correction? Need guidance on whether the Higher Credential Exclusion or Debt Roll-Up apply? Or maybe you’d like to get some training…you’re in luck! FSA has all that in this electronic announcement.


An update to the NSLDS Gainful Employment User Guide was released in March. The update includes new information about to help schools report more accurately and gives info on how to correct GE information you’ve already reported to NSLDS. Corrections are an important part of the GE reporting cycle. Errors can affect programmatic rates.


The third and final Gainful Employment Negotiated Rulemaking sessions ended with little consensus among negotiators on ED’s proposals. The only real agreement negotiators could agree too was in opposition to the Department’s proposals. Advocacy and student groups worried that the Department of Education will rewrite the Gainful Employment Regulations and implement rules which do little to protect students. Meanwhile, representatives from schools and colleges are optimistic about the potentiality that the Department may write rules that that beef up consumer information while making the rule apply to all programs, but without adding punitive sanctions for failing programs.

Department officials said that ED expected to publish a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) this spring, followed by a public comment period. Comments will be reviewed, and final rules are expected to be published by October 31, 2018 – if all of this happens on time, we could be looking at new less onerous GE rules with an implementation date of July 1, 2019. We’ll be keeping you posted as this story develops.

Until such time, most of the current GE rules still stand so schools still must comply with certain reporting and disclosure requirements.


Negotiators met for the second time last month to negotiate recommendations for the government’s re-write of the controversial Gainful Employment rules. The rules have historically applied to programs offered at proprietary schools dating back to the 1960’s when the Higher Education Act (HEA) was written. New language was introduced by the Department of Education just days before the February 2018 neg reg session which would change that; effectively making nearly all postsecondary programs Gainful Employment programs. At the same time the language provided by the Department would expand the scope of GE to all higher ed. Their language effectively reduces gainful employment to a consumer information item by removing any sanctions. Negotiators didn’t have much to say about it during the February meeting, so the final rules expected to be released later this year have a very strong chance of applying to all schools. Negotiators meet for the final GE Neg Reg session March 12-15, 2018.

As a result, school programs won’t lose federal aid eligibility when it doesn’t meet the debt-to-income ratio. The proposed regulations would also expand the scope of the gainful employment regulations to apply to all educational programs, not just non-degree programs or those at for-profits.