Education Department Extends Gainful Employment Reporting Deadline, Publishes Milestones Schedule

April 1, 2024

On March 29, 2024, the U.S. Department of Education published an electronic announcement delaying the reporting deadline for institutional data related to the Gainful Employment (GE) and Financial Value Transparency (FVT) regulations (GE/FVT rule).

The department also published a “Dear Colleague Letter” that outlines the provisions of the GE/FVT rule, including a list of the necessary program-specific and student-specific reporting requirements.

Referring to the delay as a “flexibility,” institutions now have until Oct. 1, 2024, to provide the required reporting under the new GE/FVT rule. The department added that the adjusted timeline allows institutions to focus their efforts on issues related to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) data delays and provides additional time to compile the required information. The department still intends to publish the first official round of GE/FVT metrics by early 2025.

In addition, the department published a revised timeline for guidance and implementation of the GE/FVT rule, as follows:

Policy Guidance

  • Week of April 1, 2024: Publication of a GE/FVT “Frequently Asked Questions” document as well as a “GE/FVT Topics” webpage on the Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) website.

Student Cohort Reports

  • Early April 2024: FSA publishes an electronic announcement describing a series of new National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) reports intended to assist schools with identifying completer cohorts and those students for whom schools will report data.
  • Mid-April 2024: FSA provides information regarding a live webinar about the new NSLDS reports. The webinar is scheduled for early May 2024.
  • Late April 2024: GE/FVT NSLDS reports become available for schools to access.

GE/FVT Data Reporting Capabilities

  • April 2024: FSA publishes a reporting guide that provides technical and operational details schools will need to begin the GE/FVT reporting process.
  • June 2024: FSA provides information about a live webinar that will describe the content contained in the reporting guide. The webinar will occur in July.
  • July 1, 2024: FSA makes the reporting system available for schools to use.
  • July 2024: FSA provides schools with a draft “completers list” that identifies the cohorts of students whose earnings will be included in the GE/FVT metrics. Schools will be provided 60 days to make corrections to that list.
  • October 1, 2024: All required data must be reported to NSLDS.

In early 2025, the department plans to publish the first GE/FVT metrics and notify schools of failing GE programs. Notifications to schools that voluntarily discontinued failing GE programs or withdrew failing programs from eligibility will follow. The department plans to provide additional information on the program eligibility impact of the metrics on failing GE programs.

The department will make the GE/FVT program information system available in July 2026.

Institutions subject to the reporting requirements will see this revised timeline as relief from the twin-challenges of processing student aid amongst FAFSA delays and complying with brand-new reporting requirements without prior experience and, for many schools, without sufficient capacity. The department listened to industry concerns and reduced some of the burden, even temporarily, on heavily taxed institutional financial aid staff. However, without a resolution to the ongoing FAFSA issues, kicking the can down the road on reporting requirements could create future implementation headaches for the department and institutions of higher education. As recent history suggests, if the administration changes hands in the fall, the GE/FVT rule could be in jeopardy.

It is important to note that there are two lawsuits challenging the GE/FVT rule. If they succeed, they could delay or halt implementation of the department’s plans indefinitely.

McGuireWoods continues to monitor implementation of the GE/FVT rule and publish updates. For questions about compliance with the GE/FVT rule, please contact any authors of this legal alert.