Posted Date: January 6, 2017

Author:  Pamela Eliadis, Service Director, System Operations & Aid Delivery Management, Federal Student Aid

Subject: Gainful Employment Electronic Announcement #100 - Upcoming Release of Final Gainful Employment Debt-to-Earnings (D/E) Rates

On January 8, 2017, the U.S. Department of Education (the Department) expects to release to institutions final Debt Measure Year 2015 Gainful Employment (GE) Debt-to-Earnings (D/E) rates.

Under 34 CFR 668.404, a GE program passes the D/E rates measure if its annual earnings rate is less than or equal to 8 percent or its discretionary income rate is less than or equal to 20 percent. A GE program fails the D/E rates measure if its annual earnings rate is greater than 12 percent and its discretionary income rate is greater than 30 percent. Also, a discretionary income rate will be considered failing if its denominator is negative or zero, and an annual earnings rate will be considered failing if its denominator is zero. A GE program with D/E rates that are neither passing nor failing is in the zone. If a GE program fails or is in the zone, a transitional rate may also be calculated if there were at least 10 students who completed the program during the 2014-2015 award year. Transitional rates are used if they are better than the standard rates.

Information on the calculation and outcomes of D/E rates is available in Dear Colleague Letter GEN 15-12.

Release of Final Debt Measure Year 2015 GE Debt-to-Earnings (D/E) Rates

Institutional Access:

Institutions may receive their final GE D/E rates and backup data through the following methods:

  • A letter to the institution’s chief executive officer that includes the institution’s final GE D/E rates will be placed in the institutionally-designated Student Aid Internet Gateway (SAIG) mailbox under SAIG message class GELFLEOP.

  • A GE Debt Measures Backup Data detail file for an institution’s GE programs for which GE D/E rates were calculated will be placed in the institution’s SAIG mailbox under SAIG message class GEBFLEOP.

  • If an institution has not yet designated a GE SAIG mailbox and thus, will not receive its GE files, the institution can request the GE Debt Measures Backup Data detail files using the “GE Debt Measures Backup by Calc Year” or “GE Debt Measures Backup by Program” options on the Reports tab of the NSLDS Professional Access website. The requested reports will be sent in SAIG message class GEBFLEOP. Note that the letter to the institution’s chief executive officer, described above, is not available upon request on the NSLDS Professional Access website. An institution must have a designated GE SAIG mailbox in order to receive the letter.

  • An institution may also view its final GE D/E rates on the Org tab of the NSLDS Professional Access website, on the GE Debt Measures page.

As a reminder, the GE Debt-to-Earnings Backup Data Viewer Tool is available to import, view, and sort the GE Debt Measures Backup Data detail files. For more information about this tool, refer to Gainful Employment Electronic Announcement #93.

Public Access:

GE program final D/E rates will be available to the public on the Federal Student Aid Data Center’s Gainful Employment Information page late in the afternoon of January 9, 2017. 

Results of the Department’s Review of Draft D/E Rates Challenges Using NSLDS Professional Access

If an institution challenged the underlying Title IV loan data used to calculate the D/E rates during the 45-day challenge period that ended December 7, 2016, and the challenge was approved by the Department, the program’s final D/E rates will reflect that approval. If an institution did not challenge the underlying loan data for a GE program, or if none of an institution’s challenges were approved by the Department, the draft D/E rates that were provided to institutions on October 20, 2016, are the final rates for the program.

The results of the Department’s review of the institution’s challenges to the draft GE D/E Rates may be viewed on the NSLDS Professional Access website. The results can be filtered for “Edited” records on the program’s GE D/E List page, on the GE tab. Challenges that have been reviewed by the Department will appear with a checkmark next to the student’s Social Security number. When viewing the GE student detail record, the challenge outcome will be marked as follows, in the “Approved” column:

Yes – Indicates the challenge was approved by the Department and was accepted for the final GE D/E rate calculation

No – Indicates the challenge was denied by the Department and was not accepted for the final GE D/E rate calculation

Other Available Reports and Updated NSLDS Gainful Employment User Guide

For institutions that submitted a large number of challenges, we have created a report to assist with a review of those challenges. The GE Debt-to-Earnings Case Outcomes Report (GEDME1) provides a single listing of all of an institution’s draft D/E rate challenge results, grouped by GE program. This fixed-width report can be requested on the Reports tab of the NSLDS Professional Access website and will be delivered to the user’s SAIG mailbox, in message class GECSFWOP. 

If an institution does not see the complete list of reviewed challenges it expects to see, it is possible that the challenge(s) were not submitted to the Department for review. The GE Debt-to-Earnings Unsubmitted Cases Report (GEDMD1) provides a list of the institution’s programs which contained at least one challenge to the program, but where the institution did not confirm and submit the challenge to the Department. This report, also available for request on the Reports tab, will be delivered using SAIG message class GECPFWOP.

More information about viewing draft GE D/E rate challenge results and the two new GE reports described above is available in Chapter 10 of the updated NSLDS Gainful Employment User Guide (January 2017), now available on the NSLDS User Documentation page on the IFAP website. The updated guide can also be downloaded from the "Resources" section of the Gainful Employment Information Page on the IFAP website. 

Contact Information

If you have questions about the results of challenges to draft GE D/E rates, please contact the Gainful Employment Customer Support Center at 877/281-1995. You can also contact Customer Support by email at GE.Operations@ed.gov.

If you have questions about how to access or view your final GE D/E rates or the data in your institution’s GE Debt Measures Backup Data detail file, please contact the NSLDS Customer Support Center at 800/999-8219. You can also contact Customer Support by email at nslds@ed.gov.

The Gainful Employment Information Page on the IFAP website contains publications and resources on GE as well as Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). If you have a policy question about the GE regulations that has not already been addressed in the FAQs section of the Gainful Employment Information Page, please submit the question to ge-questions@ed.gov.

   

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