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(Gainful Employment) Subject: Gainful Employment Electronic Announcement #92 - Upcoming Distribution of Draft GE Debt-to-Earnings (D/E) Rates

Posted Date:October 13, 2016

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

Subject: Gainful Employment Electronic Announcement #92 - Upcoming Distribution of Draft GE Debt-to-Earnings (D/E) Rates

The purpose of this Electronic Announcement is to inform the community of the upcoming distribution of the draft Gainful Employment (GE) Debt-to-Earnings (D/E) rates. In the sections below we provide important preliminary information about working with the data and submitting challenges, as well as remind institutions of two upcoming webinars.

Distribution of Draft GE D/E Rates Files

The National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) will generate and send the “GE Debt Measures Backup Data” detail files to institutionally designated Student Aid Internet Gateway (SAIG) mailboxes the week of October 17, 2016. These detail files, which contain the draft GE D/E rates for each GE program at the institution as well as the data used to calculate the rates, will be sent using the SAIG message class GEBFLEOP. At the same time the detail files are sent to SAIG mailboxes, we will send a letter to the institution’s chief executive officer in SAIG message class GELFLEOP. The letter will include the draft GE D/E rates for each of the institution’s GE programs and general information about the calculation of the rates.

We will confirm the distribution of these files by posting an Electronic Announcement to the Information for Financial Aid Professionals (IFAP) website. At that time we will also describe how institutions may request the detail files on the Reports tab of the NSLDS Professional Access website.

Viewing and Working with the Draft GE D/E Rates Files

The GE Debt Measures Backup Data file is a fixed-width, multi-record flat file containing, for all of the institution’s GE programs, institutional information, GE program information, loan information, and student-level data for each student in the GE cohort (see Appendix D of the NSLDS Gainful Employment User Guide for the file layout and specifications). We have developed the GE Debt-to-Earnings Backup Data Viewer Tool which will assist institutions in their review and analysis of the information. We will provide more information about the availability of the tool and its use in a subsequent Electronic Announcement.

45-Day Challenge Period

Consistent with the GE regulations at 34 CFR 668.405, institutions will have 45 days to submit challenges to certain loan information included in the GE Debt Measures Backup Data detail file. Note that the 45-day period will not begin until the new D/E rates challenge process is available on the Gainful Employment tab of the NSLDS Professional Access website. We expect that this process will be available to institutions shortly after the distribution of the draft GE D/E rates, at which time we will provide the dates for the beginning and, more importantly, the ending of the 45-day challenge submission period.

We encourage institutions to use the time prior to the start of the official 45-day challenge period to begin their review of the information in their GE Debt Measures Backup Data detail file. We also recommend that institutional staff attend both of the upcoming GE webinars. Each webinar will be offered twice. See the “Training Opportunities” section below for more information about the webinars.

Guidance on Determining Whether to Submit a Challenge

At this stage in the process, challenges can only be made to specific underlying Title IV loan data that is used to calculate the median debt for the students in a GE program. To assist institutions with determining whether or not to submit a challenge during the 45-day challenge period, we have posted a document titled “” to the "Resources" section of the Gainful Employment Information Page on the IFAP website. This document describes the types of challenges that institutions can submit as well the information that must be provided by the institution in the comment section of the D/E rates challenge submission screens (to be released on the NSLDS Professional Access website later this month). The document also includes examples of acceptable documentation to support an institution’s challenge and examples of unacceptable documentation that is not sufficient to support an institution’s challenge.

Note that all challenges will require the submission of supporting documentation. We will provide additional information about this process in a forthcoming Electronic Announcement.

Training Opportunities

As previously announced, we will offer two sets of webinars later this month about the draft GE D/E rates. The first webinar “Reading Your Draft GE Debt-to-Earnings (D/E) Rates Files” will be offered on October 18 and again on October 25. The second webinar, “Submitting Draft GE Debt-to-Earnings (D/E) Challenges” will be offered on October 20 and again on October 27. Refer to Dear Colleague Letter ANN-16-14 for complete information about these webinars, including how to register for them.

Contact Information

If you have questions about NSLDS, contact the NSLDS Customer Support Center at 800/999-8219. You can also contact Customer Support by email at

The Gainful Employment Information Page on the IFAP website contains publications and resources on GE as well as Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). If you have a policy question about the GE regulations that has not already been addressed in the FAQs section of the Gainful Employment Information Page, please submit the question to

Last Modified: 10/12/2016