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Federal Update – May 1

Federal Update – May 1

GOVERNMENT RELATIONS HIGHLIGHTS

  • FVT/GE Reporting Guidance: The U.S. Department of Education published the NSLDS Financial Value Transparency and Gainful Employment (FVT/GE) User Guide, which provides instructions and guidance for complying with the FVT/GE reporting requirements via the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS®).
  • Title IX: The U.S. Department of Education has published its Title IX Final Rule, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs or activities receiving Federal financial assistance.
  • FAFSA Rollout: The House Education and Workforce Committee is holding a hearing titled “Examining the Education Department’s Policies, Priorities, and FY 2023 Financial Audit Failure” in which Secretary Miguel Cardona will testify on the FAFSA rollout.

FVT/GE REPORTING GUIDANCE

What You Need to Know

Today, the U.S. Department of Education published the NSLDS Financial Value Transparency and Gainful Employment (FVT/GE) User Guide, which provides instructions and guidance for complying with the FVT/GE reporting requirements via the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS®). The Department additionally hosted a webinar on May 1, 2024, which provided additional guidance on the NSLDS reports. As a reminder, the reporting deadlines for FVT/GE have been extended to October 1, 2024. For FVT/GE purposes, an institution must annually report student-specific data and program-specific data to NSLDS. In its announcement, the Department indicated that it will publish additional individual volumes of the User Guide covering a range of topics, including: reporting methods (batch, web, spreadsheet submittal), reporting content, the FVT/GE Completers List, the FVT/GE calculations, and other relevant topics.

Of particular note, Section 1.8 of the User Guide references the FVT/GE Debt-to-Earnings Rate and Earnings Premium Measurement reporting requirements. The User Guide states that “[s]chools will be provided information on the FVT/GE debt measures process, how the debt measures backup data is distributed, how to utilize the NSLDS Professional Access website to review the rates for each program, how to review backup data for each program, and how to use reports to assist in the review process.” The Earnings Premium will be calculated by comparing each program’s median annual earnings – from the IRS – against the earnings threshold that was determined for that program.

Why This is Important to You

The Department’s publication of the User Guide is intended to assist institutions comply with the October 1, 2024 FVT/GE reporting deadlines. This reporting requirement pertains to all AACS member institutions. The required data must be reported by submitting files to NSLDS via the Student Aid Information Gateway or through the online process.

For more information:

Electronic Announcement

NSLDS FVT/GE User Guide Introduction

NSLDS Reporting Webinar

TITLE IX

What You Need to Know

After much delay, the U.S. Department of Education has published its Title IX Final Rule, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs or activities receiving Federal financial assistance. The robust 1,577 page Final Rule clarifies the scope and application of Title IX and the obligations of institutions that receive Federal financial assistance from the Department. It amends current regulations, which took effect in August 2020. The Final Rule takes effect August 1, 2024.

Of particular note for AACS members, the new Title IX regulations change how and when employees of a college must take action when they learn of conduct that may constitute sexual harassment under the law. Currently, the law allows colleges to designate specific employees who must take action. This new rule broadens this to a larger group of employees.

These changes will likely increase burdens on colleges, including changes to existing policies and procedures and the implementation of training for employees. In response to comments about the burdens and cost that the Final Rule will impose on colleges, the Department expressed doubt that any significant cost increases would result.

In response to the Final Rule, Attorney Generals in Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana and Idaho filed a lawsuit in the Western District of Louisiana in Monroe.

The publication of the Final Rule comes after a number of delays by the Department. AACS will analyze the Final Rule closely and provide an updated regulatory impact analysis to membership.

Why This is Important to You

The Title IX Final Rule has significant compliance implications for AACS members. Colleges will be required to change policies and procedures implementing the regulations. They will also need to train all employees in their new reporting obligations under the rule. AACS is closely reviewing this 1,577 page Final Rule, and will provide further updates as needed.

For more information: 

Title IX Final Rule

Lawsuit

HOUSE EDUCATION AND WORKFORCE FAFSA

What You Need to Know

On May 7, 2024, the House Education and Workforce Committee is holding a hearing titled “Examining the Education Department’s Policies, Priorities, and FY 2023 Financial Audit Failure” in which Secretary Miguel Cardona will testify on the FAFSA rollout. This hearing follows a number of previous congressional hearings (in the House Appropriations Committee and House Education and Workforce Committee) which have featured Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle continuing to press the Department and Secretary Cardona for answers and resolutions on the failed FAFSA rollout. In anticipation for the May 7th hearing, Chairwoman Foxx stated,

“I’m greatly disappointed by Secretary Cardona’s leadership of the Department of Education and his willingness to toe the line for the Biden administration’s disdain for the Constitution. We’ve watched as the Department has advanced the President’s illegal ‘free’ college agenda, botched the FAFSA rollout and return to repayment, implemented radical changes to Title IX, and failed to combat antisemitism and foreign influence in any significant way… Yet, with this abysmal track record, including the Department failing its financial audits for fiscal years 2022 and 2023, Secretary Cardona has requested billions more in taxpayer dollars. Taxpayers have reached their limit, Mr. Secretary. This hearing gives the Committee an opportunity to hold Secretary Cardona accountable for his partisan agenda and regulatory overreach.”

As a likely result of the troubled rollout, Richard Cordray – the chief operating officer for the Office of Federal Student Aid – has stepped down from his position with the Department. Cordray has served in the Department since May 2021. 

Why This is Important to You

We have heard from a number of our members about the impact that the FAFSA rollout has had on schools’ administrative teams and students. This issue has been at the forefront of the higher education sector for the past several months. Members of Congress are pressuring the Department to quickly remedy the significant problems caused by the FAFSA rollout and to take accountability for the situation we currently face. AACS will continue to update membership on any developments concerning the FAFSA rollout.

For more information:

House Education and Workforce Hearing

STUDENT LOAN FORGIVENESS

What You Need to Know

The Department announced the approval of more than $6.1 billion in automatic student loan relief to nearly 317,000 borrowers who enrolled at any Art Institute campus on or after Jan. 1, 2004, through Oct. 16, 2017. The Department found that The Art Institutes and its parent company, Education Management Corporation (EDMC), made substantial misrepresentation to prospective students on a range of topics, including: graduation rates, employment rates, salaries, and career services offered by the institution. 

Why This is Important to You

President Biden has continued to campaign on the promise of reducing the burden of student debt and ensuring that student loans are not a barrier to opportunity for students and families. While institutions will not be held responsible for the student loan discharge, we highlight these announcements as the Department has enacted a series of mechanisms to provide student loan debt relief. This student relief action brings the total amount of student relief approved by the Biden-Harris Administration to almost $160 billion for nearly 4.6 million borrowers.

For more information:

Student Loan Relief Announcement

For More Information

If you have any questions about this Update, please email info@beautyschools.org.

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State Update – June 4

The first week of the June finds only 14 state legislatures actively meeting. Recent and upcoming legislative adjournments include Louisiana on June 3 and New York on June 6. 

Another four states – Arizona, Delaware, New Hampshire and Rhode Island – will be adjourning their respective 2024 legislative sessions at the end of the month.

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