This Is A Clusterfiasco

AIR webinar confirming our read of the bureaucratic nightmare of GE&FVT

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Morgan and I just got off the Association for Institutional Research (AIR) webinar on the Financial Value Transparency (FVT) & Gainful Employment (GE) regulations that we have described in this newsletter. In particular, these three posts call out that administrators and staff at most nonprofit institutions are not aware or prepared for what is about to hit them based on the FVT regulations. As a reminder, we created this chart to help explain the scope of FVT & GE rules.

The webinar was very useful, and the majority of time was spent with a Department of Education (ED) official describing the requirements for all institutions to report data under the new rules.

And it was brutal. To me, this sounded like the beginning of the Monty Python Sex Education scene from The Meaning of Life.

All right, settle down. Settle down... Now, before I begin the lesson, will those of you who are playing in the match this afternoon move your clothes down onto the lower peg immediately after lunch, before you write your letter home, if you're not getting your hair cut, unless you've got a younger brother who is going out this weekend as the guest of another boy, in which case, collect his note before lunch, put it in your letter after you've had your hair cut, and make sure he moves your clothes down onto the lower peg for you.

Remember, the audience was primarily composed of the Institutional Research staff that will be required to create the new reports. And the information was useful, not in terms of a good process but rather that the presenter shared a lot. Some of the best comments:

  • “How do we deal with multiple program completers? First major will not represent programs well.”

  • “How are you going to handle stackable programs, meaning they are meant for students to go on to the next level?”

  • “What is the estimated burden these new requirements will create on already stretched teams?”

  • “This seems to deter institutions from enrolling low-income students.”

  • “Are you going [to] fund positions at our already struggling institutions to comply with all of these reporting requirements?”

  • “Does the Department recognize that a July 31, 2024 deadline for the initial reporting is really bad timing along with the FAFSA simplification mess we are dealing with this year?”

  • “Right in the middle of fall IPEDS reporting. Thanks.”

  • “Could you please try to make this a little more confusing? I know it would be difficult, but hey, why not!”

  • “This is a clusterfiasco. I’m updating my resume.”

I share this not just for the snark - these are serious comments from staff starting to realize the implications of the new rules. FVT&GE reporting will be a nightmare - do what you can to be prepared. As an example, consider these two slides showing some of the reporting requirements.

And a final note. Almost ALL of these issues were called out in the public comment period, as I described in “7,500 Comments Don't Get As Much Change As You Might Think.” But ED plowed ahead nonetheless. Now we have a bitter pill to swallow.

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