Monday, February 6, 2012

GE Disclosures

The last couple years have been very busy for schools, especially schools in the for-profit sector. New rules and changes to existing rules have kept schools very busy in staying in compliance. Along with these rules (which are too many to mention in one post) is the Disclosures rule.

All schools that offer gainful employment programs (which is almost exclusively for-profit schools, which I'll explain in another post) have to disclose certain pieces of information on the previous award year. Placement rates, on-time graduation rates, median loan debt, median institutional loan debt, and cost are all to be mentioned, and each of these categories are to be separated by program. These disclosures have to be a school's website, and not hidden on the website either (so, a school can't create a hidden link to the information). Any advertising that specifically mentions a school's programs has to include this information too. The Department of Education then specified that it's impossible to put all that information on a flyer, billboard, or a TV/radio ad. Schools have to give the direct link to where the information can be found. For example, we can't say "for information regarding placement rates, on-time graduate rates, median loan debt, and cost, visit" It has to be the exact page, so we would have to say "".

It's not much different than a commercial with a car driving all crazy on the road, and at the bottom of the screen, the company making the commercial has to put a phrase like "Stunt driver on a course. Do not attempt", or a medication commercial that has to list all the side effects. The disclosures are supposed to inform prospective and currently enrolled students of the programs at a school, and whether they choose to look at the information is voluntary, but a school has to make the information available.

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