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(General) Subject: Gainful Employment Electronic Announcement #18 –Submitting An Explanation of Missing/Incomplete Gainful Employment Data

Posted Date:August 9, 2011

Author: Jeff Baker, Director, Policy Liaison and Implementation, Federal Student Aid

Subject: Gainful Employment Electronic Announcement #18 –Submitting An Explanation of Missing/Incomplete Gainful Employment Data

Final regulations published in the Federal Register on October 29, 2010 require institutions that participate in the student financial assistance programs authorized under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, to report certain information about students who are enrolled in Title IV-eligible educational programs that lead to gainful employment in a recognized occupation (GE Programs). These requirements became effective July 1, 2011.

Institutions must submit the first report of gainful employment information to the Department this fall. The regulations provide that in the rare instance that an institution is unable to provide the required information, the institution must provide an explanation as to why complete information will not be provided.

The purpose of this announcement is to provide institutions with more information on how to submit the explanation if there was an unusual situation (such as a natural disaster) that prevents an institution from providing all of the required information.

What are the Circumstances that Require Submission of Missing or Incomplete Explanations?

As noted above, the regulations provide that an institution that is not able to report the required information about students who were enrolled in any of the institution’s GE Programs must provide an explanation of the reason(s) why the information cannot be reported. The following is a list of circumstances that require such an explanation:

  1. The institution has no GE Programs.

  2. The GE Program was Title IV eligible in the 2010-2011 award year, but was not Title IV eligible in one or more of the award years between 2006-2007 and 2010-2011.

  3. The institution is a foreign school and will not be reporting for a GE Program because there were fewer than 10 students enrolled in the program in the relevant award year. Note: Domestic institutions must report for all GE Programs, regardless of the number of students who were enrolled..

  4. The institution is unable to report for one or more of the required award years (2006-2007 through 2010-2011).

  5. The institution is unable to report for one or more of its GE Programs.

  6. The institution is unable to report for one or more of the students who were enrolled in a GE Program.

  7. The institution is unable to report all of the information required for each student who was enrolled in a GE Program in the required award years (2006-2007 through 2010-2011).

  8. Any other circumstance where the institution is unable to meet the regulatory reporting requirements by the established timelines for reporting.

How Does an Institution Submit Explanations of Missing or Incomplete Information?

The required explanation(s) of missing or incomplete GE Program information must be submitted by an institution in an e-mail sent to

What Should the E-mail Include?

Subject Line of e-mail - To ensure a timely review of each explanation, we request that the “subject” line of the e-mail include the first 6 digits of the institution’s OPEID and the institution’s name. For example, if North South University’s six digit OPEID is “012345”, the subject line would read 012345–North South University.

Body of e-mail – At the top of the body of the e-mail, please provide the name, phone number, and e-mail address of a contact person at the institution. This is the person we will contact if we have any questions on the missing or incomplete data explanation provided.

Following the contact information, the e-mail should provide the explanation of why the information will not be provided or will be incomplete. Be certain to indicate the award year and the specific GE Program identifiers (the institution’s name of the GE Program and the GE Program’s six-digit CIP code and its two-digit credential level code). (See NSLDS User’s Guide, page 45). For example, “We are unable to submit data for the ABC Program 191234-01 for the 2006-2007 Award Year because . . .”

Please do not attach any documents to the e-mail. Upon review of the explanation, Department staff will be contact the institution if additional information is needed.

How will the Department Acknowledge Receipt of the E-mail?

An auto-response message will be returned acknowledging receipt of the e-mail. This auto-response e-mail is not an approval. Submissions will be evaluated and institutions will either be asked for additional information or will receive an approval or denial of the explanation. This e-mail will be directed to the person identified in the email as the contact person.

What Must Be Excluded from the E-Mail?

The e-mail message to must not include the following:

  • Students' personally identifiable information – (e.g., Name, Social Security Number or other identifying number, or Date of Birth)

  • File attachments (e.g., a Word or PDF document or Excel spreadsheet)

  • Questions about gainful employment regulations or policy. If the institution has questions about gainful employment requirements, please send an e-mail to
  • Technical questions about gainful employment reporting. If the institution has technical questions about using the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) to report gainful employment information, please send an e-mail to

When Must Explanations of Missing or Incomplete Information be Submitted?

Consistent with the regulatory reporting dates, institutions must submit any missing or incomplete information explanations no later than October 1, 2011.

Important Note: GE Electronic Announcement #15 explained that the Department will continue to accept GE Program information from institutions through November 15, 2011. However, as noted above, explanations of missing or incomplete GE Program information must be submitted by October 1, 2011.

For Additional Gainful Employment Information:

Complete information about gainful employment is available on the Information for Financial Aid Professionals Web site’s Gainful Employment Information page.

Last Modified: 08/08/2011