Posted Date: November 18, 2016

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

Subject: Gainful Employment Electronic Announcement #98 - Reminder: Draft GE Debt-to-Earnings (D/E) Rates 45-Day Challenge Period Ends December 7, 2016

As announced in Gainful Employment Electronic Announcement #94, December 7, 2016 is the final day for institutions to submit challenges to certain underlying loan data used to calculate the draft Gainful Employment (GE) Debt-to-Earnings (D/E) rates. The detail files containing the draft GE D/E rates for each GE program at the institution as well as the data used to calculate the rates were placed in the institution’s Student Aid Internet Gateway (SAIG) mailbox on October 20, 2016. The draft GE D/E rates challenge submission process will be available on the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) Professional Access website until 11:59 P.M. (ET) on December 7, 2016. The required supporting documentation must also be received by the Department by this deadline. After this time, challenges will no longer be accepted.

As we have previously stated, the three primary reasons why an institution may want to submit a challenge are as follows:

  • The loan does not belong to the student or to the institution;

  • Incorrect loan period dates;

  • The Loan Debt Amount is incorrect (although the Loan Debt Amount is not challengeable, if the institution believes one or more of the components used in calculating the Loan Debt Amount is incorrect, the Loan Debt Amount can be updated by challenging the Loan Amount, Cancellation Amount, and/or Refund Amount).

Refer to the sections below for important reminders about the draft GE D/E rates challenge process.

Confirming Final Submission of Challenges

It is important to note that all draft GE D/E rates challenges must be submitted and confirmed on the NSLDS Professional Access website by 11:59 P.M. (ET) on December 7, 2016 in order to be considered by the Department. For all challenges, both the “Submit” and “Confirm” buttons must be clicked to complete the challenge submission process; otherwise, the corrections will be lost.

To ensure all challenges are submitted to the Department properly, follow these steps:

  1. Select the GE tab on the NSLDS Professional Access website.

  2. Select the Submit Draft GE D/E link under the GE tab. Each GE program with at least one record that the institution has challenged will appear in a list on this page.

  3. When the institution is ready to submit the challenges for each program to the Department, select the checkbox next to the program(s) and click the Submit button.

  4. Once the challenges have been submitted, the following message will appear: “Once you Confirm, additional changes cannot be made to the program(s) selected.”

  5. To complete the final submission to the Department, click Confirm.

Detailed instructions for submitting draft GE D/E rates challenges can be found in Chapter 9 of the October 2016 update to the NSLDS Gainful Employment User Guide, available on the NSLDS User Documentation page on the Information for Financial Aid Professionals (IFAP) website.

Submission of Supporting Documentation for Challenges

As described in Gainful Employment Electronic Announcement #94, institutions will also need to submit supporting documentation that substantiates the challenges to by December 7, 2016. The Department will deny challenges submitted without supporting documentation. A detailed list of the acceptable and unacceptable forms of documentation and examples of the comments institutions must enter can be found in the document titled Documentation for Challenges to Draft D/E Rates available in the "Resources" section of the Gainful Employment Information Page on the IFAP website.

Important Reminder: Because of the need to ensure the privacy of borrower information, before emailing the supporting documentation to the Department, institutions must follow the step-by-step instructions that are included as an attachment to Gainful Employment Electronic Announcement #94. Failure to submit supporting documentation for all challenges entered as described in the step-by-step instructions will result in the automatic denial of the challenge.

Webinar Recording Materials Available

As a reminder, the recordings and training materials for the “Reading Your Draft GE Debt-to-Earnings (D/E) Rates Files” webinar and the “Submitting Draft GE Debt-to-Earnings (D/E) Challenges” webinar, conducted last month, are available on the IFAP website. Refer to Dear Colleague Letters ANN-16-16 and ANN-16-17 for more information.

Contact Information

If you have questions about the NSLDS draft GE D/E rates challenge submission functionality, contact the NSLDS Customer Support Center at 800/999-8219. You can also contact Customer Support by email at

For questions about the draft GE D/E rates challenge process, required supporting documentation, or what to include in your comments, please contact the GE Customer Support Center at 877/281-1995. You can also contact the Gainful Employment Operations Team by email at

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


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