Gainful Employment Electronic Announcement #99 – Delay in Releasing the 2017 GE Disclosure Template and Applicable Deadlines

Posted Date: December 16, 2016

Author: Gail McLarnon, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, Planning and Innovation, Office of Postsecondary Education

Subject: Gainful Employment Electronic Announcement #99 – Delay in Releasing the 2017 GE Disclosure Template and Applicable Deadlines

The purpose of this Electronic Announcement is to inform the community of a delay in the release of the 2017 Gainful Employment (GE) Disclosure Template and to provide guidance on how this delay affects institutions’ efforts to comply with GE regulations related to GE disclosures and student warnings. In the sections below we discuss the timeline for release of the 2017 GE Disclosure Template, important deadlines for both disclosures and student warnings, and posting and dissemination requirements.

Release of the 2017 GE Disclosure Template

In prior years we were able to make available to institutions the updated GE Disclosure Template in autumn for institutional implementation by the end of the following January. However, the 2017 GE Template is not expected to be released until the latter part of this coming January. Much of this delay is attributable to 2017 being the first year GE disclosures must be made in accordance with the Final Regulations that were published October 31, 2014. Significant revisions to the existing template were necessary in order to accommodate the disclosure provisions in those regulations.

Once the Department releases the 2017 GE Disclosure Template, institutions will have at least 60 days to be in compliance with the regulatory posting and dissemination requirements discussed below.

While institutions need not update their existing 2016 GE Disclosure Templates for 2017 until the new template is available, institutions should continue to include their current GE Disclosure Templates in all promotional materials made available to prospective students, and continue to display that template on the institution’s websites.

Deadlines Applicable to the 2017 GE Disclosure Template

In a future Electronic Announcement, we will provide notification that the 2017 GE Disclosure Template is available for use and indicate the deadline date by which institutions will be expected to post the new template to the GE Program’s website, included the template in all promotional materials for the program, and begun to provide prospective students with the template (via hand-delivery or email).  As noted above, this deadline will be no earlier than 60 days following the date on which the 2017 GE Disclosure Template is released.

Deadlines Applicable to Student Warnings

An institution must provide a warning to a GE Program’s students and prospective students when the Secretary notifies the institution, through a Notice of Determination, that the program could become ineligible based on subsequent D/E rates measures. The warning must be provided in writing to each student enrolled in the program as well as to any prospective student (at the first contact about the program between the institution and prospective student) before an institution may enroll, register, or enter into a financial agreement with that student.  These warnings must be provided beginning no later than 30 days after the institution received the Secretary’s Notice of Determination.

It is important to understand that the GE Disclosure Template requirement is separate from the student warning requirements. Irrespective of when the 2017 GE Disclosure Template is released, required student warnings must be provided in accordance with regulations.  For example, we expect to issue the GE Notices of Determination in mid-January of 2017, very likely before the 2017 GE Disclosure Template is available, and certainly well before the deadline for its required use. Regardless, an institution that receives a Notice of Determination that a program could become ineligible for the next year must provide the required student warnings to enrolled students within the 30-day timeframe prescribed by regulation and to all prospective students prior to enrolling, registering, or entering into a financial agreement with any of those students.

Posting and Dissemination Requirements for the 2017 GE Disclosure Template

Any web page containing academic, cost, financial aid, or admissions information about a GE program must include the GE Disclosure Template for that program or a prominent, readily accessible, clear, conspicuous, and direct link to the program’s disclosure template. In addition, all promotional materials made available to prospective students that identify a GE program by name or otherwise promote the program must include the GE Disclosure Template in a prominent manner. Where space or airtime constraints preclude inclusion of the template itself, the web address of, or the direct link to, the GE Disclosure Template must be provided.

Unlike in previous years, the 2017 GE Disclosure Template must be distributed to prospective students as a separate document before the student signs an enrollment agreement, completes registration, or makes any financial commitment to the institution. The disclosure template may be provided by hand-delivering (individually or as part of a group presentation) it to the prospective student, or by sending it to the primary email address used by the institution for communicating with that student, ensuring that the disclosure template is the only substantive content in the email. If the hand-delivery method is used, written confirmation of receipt must be obtained from the prospective student. Likewise, if email delivery is utilized, the institution must receive electronic or other written acknowledgement that the email was received by the prospective student. If the institution receives a response that the email could not be delivered, the disclosure template must be sent using a different address or method of delivery. In all cases, an institution must maintain a record of its efforts to provide the disclosure template. We do not expect institutions to comply with these “enhanced dissemination” requirements until the 2017 GE Disclosure Template has been made available.

Student Warning Requirements

Required warnings may be provided to enrolled students by hand-delivery (individually or as part of a group presentation), or by utilizing the primary email address used by the institution for communicating with the student about the program. If the warning is sent by email, it must be the only substantive content in the email and the institution must obtain electronic or other written acknowledgement that the email was received. If a response is received that the email could not be delivered, the warning must be sent using a different address or method of delivery. An institution must maintain records of its efforts to provide student warnings.

The requirements for providing prospective students with warnings are similar to those for enrolled students in that the warnings may be hand-delivered or sent by email with the same stipulations. However, with prospective students institutions have the additional options of providing the disclosure template that includes the student warning, or, if the first contact is by telephone, conveying the warning orally. It should be noted that the 2017 GE Disclosure Template containing the student warning may not yet be available at the point where an institution must begin providing warnings to prospective students.

In order to allow prospective students time in which to consider whether they wish to enroll in a program that is subject to student warning requirements, an institution may not enroll, register, or enter into a financial commitment with a prospective student no sooner than three business days after the warning has been provided to that student. If more than 30 days have passed from the date the institution first provided the student warning, another such warning must be sent with an additional three business days allowed to pass before the institution may enroll, register, or enter into a financial commitment with the prospective student.

Finally, institutions must, in addition to posting and disseminating student warnings, update a GE program’s disclosure template to include student warnings. We are not requiring institutions to update existing 2016 disclosure templates for this information. However, 2017 GE Disclosure Templates will be required to contain applicable student warnings by the deadline indicated in the upcoming Electronic Announcement referenced above. If an institution is informed through the Notice of Determination of the need to provide student warnings for a GE program after that program’s 2017 Disclosure Template is posted, the template must be updated to contain the warning language.

Contact Information

If your institution has any technical questions regarding the GE Disclosure Template, please contact our Help Desk toll-free at (855) 359-3697 or gedt@inovas.net.

If you have any policy questions about the gainful employment disclosure requirements that are not answered on the FAQ section of the GE Information Page, please submit them to the GE Questions mailbox at GE-Questions@ed.gov.

Leave a Reply