The Biden-Harris Administration recently released new regulations that strongly emphasize career services in higher education institutions, effective July 1, 2024. The regulations aim to enhance oversight, protect students, and safeguard taxpayers’ interests.

Financial Responsibility
The new regulations aim to safeguard taxpayers from losses that may arise due to institutions showing warning signs. Institutions are compelled to provide financial protection in case of mandatory triggering events such as failing financial responsibility scores or being at risk of losing federal aid. Discretionary triggers, such as adverse accreditor actions or significant fluctuations in federal student aid volume, also apply.

Administrative Capability
In order to improve the administrative capabilities of institutions, regulations require them to provide sufficient financial aid counseling and clear communication regarding the cost of attendance as well as available financial aid. Institutions are also prohibited from involving individuals with a history of misconduct or institutional closure, and they must offer clinical or externship options that are easily accessible in terms of location. Additionally, institutions are required to provide comprehensive career services to effectively support students in achieving career readiness.

Certification Procedures
The regulations grant the Department of Education the authority to monitor educational institutions that display concerning signs closely. If provisionally certified institutions are at risk of closure, they are required to have teach-out plans or agreements in place. Entities with ownership in institutions must sign the Program Participation Agreement, and career training programs are restricted to state-mandated length. Programs must also meet programmatic accreditation and state licensure requirements to ensure students acquire the necessary skills for employment. To safeguard students, distance education providers must follow state laws regarding closure.

Ability to Benefit
The new regulations aim to provide support for students who do not have high school diplomas to access federal financial aid through “ability to benefit” (ATB) alternatives. To take part in the State process, institutions must comply with reporting requirements, and eligible career pathway programs (ECPPs) must be approved. The approval process has been simplified and focuses on at least one ECPP per institution, giving priority to programs that offer strong career development opportunities.

The newly released regulations by the US Department of Education signify a significant step towards ensuring quality career services in higher education. The Department aims to equip students with the necessary skills and resources for successful careers by reinforcing administrative capability, streamlining certification procedures, prioritizing career elements, and fortifying financial responsibility standards. These regulations highlight the Department’s commitment to safeguarding the interests of students’ and taxpayers’ interests and the integrity of higher education in the United States.

If your institution is looking for a quick and effective way to improve its career services for students, Acadiate can help. Our online career experiences and resources are engaging and high-value, and can help enhance student employability. Our approach ensures that your institution has a proven track record of providing real-world career services to your students. To learn more about how we can assist you in meeting the new regulations for career services, please contact us to schedule a free demo.