Posted Date: July 13, 2015

Author:  Jeff Baker, Director, Policy Liaison and Implementation, Federal Student Aid

Subject: Gainful Employment Electronic Announcement #57 - Common Errors in Reporting Gainful Employment Data to NSLDS

We would like to provide several critical reminders to the community about the correct reporting of gainful employment (GE) data to the Department’s National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS).

Report Only Students Who Received Title IV Aid

Some institutions are incorrectly reporting information for students who did not receive Title IV aid. Only students who have received Title IV aid (Pell Grants, TEACH Grants, or Federal loans) for attendance in the GE program should be included in the institution’s GE reporting to NSLDS. If an institution has already submitted non-Title IV students, we will delete the records from NSLDS.

Program Length Format

One of the data items that institutions are required to include in their GE program reporting is the length of the program in weeks, months, or years, as published by the institution. As with NSLDS enrollment reporting and as provided in the NSLDS Gainful Employment User Guide, program length must be reported with the format “nnnnnn”, with an implied decimal point between the third and fourth digits.

Institutions should report:

  • “000100” to represent a value of one tenth

  • “001000” to represent a value of one

  • “010000” to represent a value of ten

  • “100000” to represent a value of one hundred

Therefore, a 2 year program would be reported as 002000. The NSLDS Gainful Employment User Guide contains detailed information about correctly reporting GE data to the Department, including information on the required data elements, formats, and file layouts. The updated guide is available in the "Resources" section of the Gainful Employment Information Page on the Information for Financial Aid Professionals (IFAP) Web site.

Reporting Deadline Reminder

As a reminder, the GE regulations, published on October 31, 2014 provide that the deadline for institutions to report GE Program information is July 31, 2015, for the 2008-2009 Award Year through the 2013-2014 Award Year. For certain medical and dental programs the reporting must also include data from the 2007-2008 Award Year.

The GE reporting deadline for the 2014-2015 Award Year is October 1, 2015.

Should an institution fail to meet the reporting deadline or report inaccurate data, we will notify the institution’s President or CEO that the institution’s participation in the Title IV federal student aid programs may be jeopardized.

We appreciate the efforts of each institution to ensure accurate and timely reporting of GE data.

Contact Information

If you have questions about NSLDS, contact the NSLDS Customer Support Center at 800/999-8219. You can also contact Customer Support by e-mail at

The Gainful Employment Information Page on the IFAP Web site contains publications and resources on GE as well as Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). If you have a question about the GE regulations that is not addressed in the FAQ section of the Gainful Employment Information Page, please submit the question to


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