Posted Date: November 23, 2012

Author:  David Bergeron, Acting Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education

Subject: Gainful Employment Electronic Announcement #42 - 2011-2012 Disclosures for Gainful Employment Programs

As we announced in Gainful Employment Electronic Announcement # 39, on June 30, 2012, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, in Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities (APSCU) v. Duncan, issued a decision that vacated several of the provisions in the Gainful Employment (GE) regulations that the Department published on October 29, 2010 and June 13, 2011.  The Court did not vacate the GE disclosure regulations at 34 CFR 668.6(b).  Those requirements are still in place.  

In earlier communications, including in Electronic Announcement # 39, we informed institutions that they were not required to update their GE disclosures until further information was provided by the Department.  This Electronic Announcement provides that further information.

GE Disclosure Template

The Department has not, to date, provided the GE disclosure form (template) referred to in the regulations at 34 CFR 668.6(b)(2)(iv) because we are waiting for the Court to rule on the Department’s request to reinstate the GE reporting requirements.  We will keep you informed of future developments concerning the template and institutional disclosure obligations.

2011-2012 Updates to Institutional Disclosures

Institutions that have not already updated their GE Program disclosures for the 2011-2012 award year must, no later than January 31, 2013, update their disclosures for each of their GE Programs.  Those disclosures must be based on data about students who completed the GE Program during the 2011-2012 award year (July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2012).  Until the template is available, institutions must make their GE Program disclosures using an institutionally-determined format.  Institutions that meet this GE disclosure requirement will have met their responsibilities under the regulations at 34 CFR 668.6(b) for the 2011-2012 award year, and will ensure that prospective students have complete and comparable information regarding the institution’s GE Programs.  Institutions that have already updated their GE program disclosures for the 2011-2012 award year should review those updates to make sure they are consistent with the guidance and timeframes provided in this announcement.

GE Disclosure Requirements

The following must be included in a GE Program’s disclosures -

  • Occupations (by names and SOC Codes) that the program prepares students to enter;
  • Normal time to complete the program (e.g., one year certificate program);
  • On-time graduation rate for completers (on-time completion is defined in 34 CFR 668.6(c));
  • Tuition and fees for completing the program in the normal time, costs for book and supplies, and costs for room and board, if applicable;
  • Placement rate for completers, if required by state or accreditor; and
  • Median educational loan debt incurred by completers, disclosed in three separate categories: Title IV loans, private loans, and institutional debt.
  • Note that because institutions did not report data to NSLDS for the 2011-2012 award year, institutions should calculate their own medians using data about students who completed the GE Program during the 2011-2012 award year.  Institutions should not use the 2010-2011 medians the Department calculated using the GE program information that was previously reported.  While the best way to ensure uniformity and consistency in the calculation of median loan debt is for the Department to calculate the medians based on data provided to it by institutions, in light of issues still to be resolved in APSCU v. Duncan, institutions must calculate the median loan debt for each of their GE programs.  Once those issues are resolved in litigation, the Department hopes to conduct the calculations itself in future years.

GE Program disclosures must be displayed on the educational programs’ websites and on any promotional materials for the program.

Specifically, institutions must prominently display the disclosures in a simple and meaningful manner.  Additionally, any other web page containing general, academic, or admissions information about the GE Program must also contain a prominent and direct link to the single web page that contains all the required information.

GE Program disclosures must also be provided in all promotional materials whenever feasible.  Promotional materials include flyers, brochures, invitations, program catalogs, and other content published to broadcast, print, direct mailings, email, social, or on-line media channels that promote a GE Program.  If including the text of the disclosure is not feasible because of the size or format of the promotional materials, the institution may display the URL or provide a live link to the single web page where the required information is located, with a clear explanation of the information that is available at that web page.  GE Frequently Asked Questions D-Q/A3 and D-Q/A18 address questions pertaining to promotional materials.

As a reminder, the regulations provide that the disclosures be made in “an open format that is platform-independent, machine-readable, and is made available to the public without restrictions that would impede the reuse of that information.”  34 CFR 668.6(b)(2)(iii).  The institution must also ensure that the disclosure information is accessible to individuals with disabilities (i.e., compliant with section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. § 794d).

For additional information about the GE disclosure requirements, please review the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section of the GE Information Page.  If you have questions on the information provided in this announcement, please submit them to the GE Questions mailbox at GE-Questions@ed.gov.

   

End of Page