Test Preview: Gainful Employment

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Content Areas

To earn this credential, you will need to know the accountability measures applicable to programs that prepare students for gainful employment (GE) in a recognized occupation. You will need to know what these measures are, how they are calculated, and how they affect a GE program's Title IV eligibility. You also will need to know the reporting, disclosure, and notification requirements associated with GE programs. This will help you demonstrate the ability to ensure the integrity of the Title IV programs, through your school's compliance with all requirements related to the continued eligibility of its GE programs. 

The range of topics in this test include:

  • General Concepts of Gainful Employment
  • Debt-to-Earnings Rates
  • Gainful Employment Data Reporting
  • Gainful Employment Program Disclosures

Tests may include questions pertaining to a variety of program structures, such as credit- or clock-hour, term or nonterm, standard or nonstandard term, undergraduate or graduate/professional programs, and programs of various length (shorter than one year, two-year, four-year, certificate, etc.).

Sample Test Questions

Select to EnlargeAll tests will include a combination of multiple-choice and scenario-based questions. Some questions may involve viewing or downloading worksheets, charts, and tables. Please ensure you have a calculator available while taking a credential test.

Review the following examples, which are similar in structure and scope to the questions that will appear on the test for this topic. Check your answers by selecting the question's link.

1. If a student enrolled in a degree program at a public or nonprofit institution happens to complete the requirements for a nondegree certificate while pursuing a degree program, the embedded coursework leading to a nondegree certificate program is

    • not a GE program because the school is public or nonprofit.
    • always a GE program because it is a nondegree program.
    • not a GE program as long as most students enrolled in the degree program actually earn the degree.
    • a GE program only if the school charges additional costs for the nondegree credential.

2. The annual earnings data for debt-to-earnings rate calculations are

    • provided by the school based on the student's highest adjusted gross income reported on the FAFSA® while enrolled.
    • provided by the Social Security Administration.
    • provided by the Internal Revenue Service.
    • based on Bureau of Labor Statistics data for the CIP code of the student's program.

3. Gainful employment reporting beyond student identifiers—such as CIP code, credential level, and program length—must be completed

    • only for students in a GE program who are borrowing Direct Loans during the same academic year.
    • only for students with loan debt in excess of the published average loan debt for the student's program.
    • for all students enrolled in a GE program with an annual cohort of at least 20 students.
    • for all Title IV aid recipients enrolled in a GE program during the same academic year.

4. For each gainful employment program, the institution

    • must use the required disclosure template unless there are fewer than 20 students currently enrolled in that program.
    • may elect to use its own disclosure form as long as it provides the required information.
    • must use the required disclosure template and make the disclosure available on its website.
    • is exempt from disclosure requirements for any program that passed the debt-to-earnings test.

5. The "borrowers in active repayment" used in ED's calculation of loan repayment rates includes

    • borrowers who made payments during the most recently completed award year on their loan debt sufficient to reduce the outstanding balance on their loans by at least $1.
    • borrowers with outstanding loan debt that NSLDS characterizes as being "in repayment."
    • borrowers who made payments during the most recently completed award year on their loan debt sufficient to reduce the outstanding balance on their loans by at least $100.
    • borrowers who made at least six consecutive on time payments on their loans during the most recently completed award year.

Recommended Resources

Prepare for this test by reviewing related content in resources such as:


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Publication Date: 9/23/2019

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