May 21, 2024

ED Delays Initial Financial Value Transparency and Gainful Employment Reporting Until October 1, and Releases Multiple Additional Guidance Documents

At a Glance

  • On March 29, 2024, the U.S. Department of Education delayed initial institutional reporting obligations under its Financial Value Transparency and Gainful Employment (FVT/GE) regulations to October 1, 2024.
  • On April 5, the Department announced a new online repository for FVT/GE information, including FAQs, which will be periodically updated.
  • On April 30, the Department released the first section of a new NSLDS Financial Value Transparency and Gainful Employment (FVT/GE) User Guide.

On March 29, 2024, the Department of Education (ED or the Department) issued both Dear Colleague Letter GEN-24-04 and Electronic Announcement GE-24-01, providing guidance on certain regulatory requirements of the Financial Value Transparency (FVT) and Gainful Employment (GE) provisions which take effect July 1, 2024 (and which we described in a prior alert available here). Importantly, the Department extended certain institutional reporting obligations — which otherwise would have been due to ED by July 31, 2024 — to October 1, 2024. In two separate April announcements, the Department launched a new FVT/GE topics page on the FSA Knowledge Center and released the first volume of its NSLDS Financial Value Transparency and Gainful Employment (FVT/GE) User Guide. We summarize each of these recently published resources below.

Dear Colleague Letter GEN-24-04 (March 29, 2024): Regulatory Requirements for Financial Value Transparency and Gainful Employment

This Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) summarizes the chief provisions of the FVT/GE regulations, for which our prior alert is available here. The DCL reminds institutions that these regulations apply generally to most educational programs that participate in the Title IV student financial assistance programs, although the details of the regulations reflect separate sets of requirements based on specific types of educational institutions and programs. Further, the DCL unambiguously states that the FVT elements of the regulations — including the Department’s determination and publication of debt-to-earnings (D/E) rate and earnings premiums (EP) measure — apply to all Title IV participating programs, regardless of institutional or program type.

The Department also reminds institutions through this DCL that, after July 1, 2026, GE programs must provide detailed warnings to current and prospective students within 30 days of the Department notifying the institution that the GE program could become ineligible in the next award year based on its D/E rate or EP measure. While D/E rates and EP measures will not affect the continued Title IV eligibility of non-GE programs (i.e., degree programs at public and private nonprofit institutions), prospective students of a non-GE program at the non-degree or graduate level that has failing measures will be required to acknowledge that they have viewed that information on an ED website before they can receive additional Title IV assistance for the program.

Among several other summations of the FVT/GE regulations, the DCL notes that an institution may initiate an administrative appeal if it believes there was an error in the specific calculation of a program’s D/E rates or EP measure, but institutions may not appeal D/E rates or EP measures in any other respect. Also, the Department’s termination of a GE program’s Title IV eligibility is considered a past performance violation and results in an institution being treated as not financially responsible, which carries other potential consequences for the institution’s broader Title IV participation. Such consequences do not apply, however, if the institution chooses to voluntarily discontinue the program or withdraw it from Title IV participation before it loses eligibility under the FVT/GE regulations.

While noting that the initial reporting deadline is extended until October 1, 2024 (per the separate announcement described below), the DCL enumerates the voluminous program-specific and student-specific information that institutions must provide to the Department, and which will be used by ED to both calculate the FVT/GE measures as well as to populate a new program information website.

Electronic Announcement GE-24-01: Timeline of Financial Value Transparency and Gainful Employment Reporting Requirements

Stating that the Department “recognizes that effectively launching the FVT/GE regulations means giving institutions the time needed to compile the necessary data for reporting,” this Electronic Announcement on March 29, 2024, announced certain “flexibilities” relating to the timing of required program-level and student-level data reporting. Most notably, while institutions will have the ability to report their FVT/GE data through NSLDS as of July 1, 2024, institutions will now have until October 1, 2024, to provide all required reportable data. This deadline was previously July 31, 2024. The Department reiterated its intention to publish the first official round of FVT/GE metrics in “early 2025” despite the later reporting deadline for institutions.

This announcement also described key timelines and implementation milestones for the new FVT/GE requirements, including commitments for additional policy and operational guidance for institutions. The Department also noted that new NSLDS reports, including Student Cohort Reports, would be available in spring 2024, with related training webinars to occur in May. Similarly, the Department stated that it would host a live webinar in July 2024, describing the reporting guidelines and processes for institutions. The Department stated that it would provide institutions with draft “completers lists” for all pertinent programs in July.

This announcement also restated the Department’s intention to: (1) publish the first FVT/GE metrics and notify institutions of failing GE programs, (2) notify institutions that have voluntarily discontinued failing GE programs or withdrawn such programs from eligibility that substantially similar programs cannot be approved until three years have elapsed, and (3) provide additional information on the program eligibility effects of the metrics on failing GE programs, all in early 2025.

Electronic Announcement GE-24-02: Financial Value Transparency and Gainful Employment Topics Page and FAQs

On April 5, 2024, this Electronic Announcement noted release of an FVT/GE Topics Page on Federal Student Aid’s Knowledge Center. The page is intended to serve as a continually updated repository for all FVT/GE regulations, policy guidance (including pertinent dear colleague letters, electronic announcements and webinars), publications and operational information (including NSLDS user guides for FVT/GE data), and an FAQ page.

NSDLS Financial Value Transparency and Gainful Employment User Guide

On April 30, 2024, the Department launched its NSLDS Financial Value Transparency and Gainful Employment (FVT/GE) User Guide. This initial release includes only the Introduction to the guide, with future installments to include the remaining volumes. The Introduction provides a general overview of the FVT/GE regulations and their various requirements, including information regarding which students and programs to include in data submissions, specific NSLDS reporting methods, completer lists, and the process flow for determining D/E rates and EP measures.

For More Information

Please do not hesitate to contact the authors or another member of our education team if you have any questions regarding any of the matters discussed above.

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