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DYK: FINAL 2015 GE D/E Rates Are Released

January 10, 2017
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The U.S. Department of Education (ED) has released the final “Gainful Employment (GE) Debt-to-Earnings Rates for the for the 2015 Debt Measure Year.

Per ED’s January 6, 2017 Electronic Announcement, 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.

To review how D/E rates are calculated and the resulting outcomes, please refer to the Dear Colleague Letter GEN-15-12.

Institutions have access to these just-released D/E rates via the letter ED sent the institution’s chief executive officer, which is delivered in the institution’s designated Student Aid Internet Gateway (SAIG) mailbox.  (Note:  The “Subject Line” in the letter to the chief executive officer indicates the rates are “draft” rates. ED clarified in a subsequent Electronic Announcement on January 9, 2016, that the rates are indeed final and that only the “Subject Line” was incorrectly titled.)

The D/E rates are also available via the SAIG message class GEBFLEOP.  The institution’s GE Debt Measures Backup Data detail file for its GE programs is likewise available in the SAIG mailbox.  The institution can additionally 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.  Finally, 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.

The public has access to the GE program final D/E rates on the Federal Student Aid Data Center’s Gainful Employment Information page as of late afternoon, January 9, 2017.

Should an institution whose programs’ GE D/E rates are failing or in the zone wish to file an appeal utilizing alternate earnings data, the institution must email a Notice of Intent to appeal within 14 days of the issuance of Final D/E rates (i.e., on or before Monday, January 23, 2017).  The Notice of Intent to appeal must be e-mailed to AltEarningsAppeals@ed.gov.

In a Notice of Intent to file an appeal, the institution must identify by name, CIP code, and Credential Level the failing or zone GE programs for which it is planning to submit an appeal.

Final appeal documentation must be submitted to ED within 60 days of the issuance of the Final D/E rates (i.e., on or before Friday, March 10, 2017).  For more details on the appeal process, refer back to GE Electronic Announcement #95, and also GE Electronic Announcement #101.

Lastly, an updated edition of the NSLDS Gainful Employment User Guide (January 2017) is available under NSLDS User Documentation on the IFAP Web site.  It may also be downloaded from the “Resources” section of the Gainful Employment Information Page.

For more information please see ED’s January 6, 2017, Electronic Announcement.

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This material is presented for informational and educational purposes only and should not be considered to be giving legal advice.

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