Posted Date: December 22, 2011

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

Subject: Gainful Employment Electronic Announcement #31 - Gainful Employment Placement Rates and NCES Methodology

The regulations at 34 CFR 668.6(b)(1)(iv) provide that institutions that prepare students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation must disclose the placement rate for students completing a GE Program, as determined under a methodology developed by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

In March, NCES convened a technical review panel (TRP). The TRP determined that at this time, a single job placement rate methodology could not be developed without further study because of limitations in data systems and other available data. While the TRP consensus was that calculating job placement rates using a common metric would be preferable, the group was unable to provide a more definitive suggestion at this time. The panel suggested that a more focused review be conducted on: 1) how to define key elements in a common metric in a way that presents meaningful and valid data and, 2) the availability and expansion of data sources to support a common metric. The panel suggested the topic be explored in greater detail by the Department. The results of the TRP were published on the NCES website and public comments were solicited. Nothing in the public comment caused NCES, as an independent statistical agency, to modify the TRP’s recommendation.

Until NCES is able to develop a placement rate methodology, institutions required by their accrediting agencies and/or State to calculate a placement rate on a program basis must disclose these placement rates and identify the accrediting agency and/or State agency under whose requirements the rate was calculated. If an institution’s accrediting agency and/or State requires the institution to calculate a placement rate at the institutional level or on other than a program basis, the institution must use the accrediting agency or State methodology to calculate a placement rate for the program and disclose that rate. As provided in our GE FAQs D-Q8, institutions that are not required by their accreditor or State to calculate a placement rate are exempt from the regulatory requirement to disclose placement rate information.


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