Meeting on NSLDS Enrollment Reporting

Earlier this month, AACRAO staff and representatives met with Federal Student Aid staff at the Education Department to discuss the nearly 1,000 institutions who are out of compliance in their NSLDS enrollment reporting.  Specifically, these schools are failing to reach the 90 percent mark in terms of the percentage of students on their NSLDS SSCR rosters with valid program codes. Institutions have been required to report to NSLDS at the program level since 2014. The department has been reaching out to non-compliant schools for some time now without a lot of success and requested help to find ways to address this problem. The agency plans to begin sending letters to non-compliant institutions, first to the primary reporting contact and financial aid administrator, and then a letter copying the institution's president, and finally directly to the president.

While it is unclear exactly why so many schools are out of compliane, issues may include having outdated rosters (students on the roster who may not have been enrolled for years) and students who are non-degree seeking and with no program code appearing on the rosters. Additionally, there was confusion surrounding how students enrolled at more than one institution should be reported on a roster. We also know many institutions are having audit challenges resulting from their NSLDS reporting.

AACRAO and NASFAA agreed to work with the Department to host a webinar at the end of April or early May to address some of the issues and avert letters to institutions and potential negative impacts to students and institutions.

Notes from the Meeting on Enrollment Reporting to NSLDS Reminders

- Representatives from the Department of Education, NASFAA, AACRAO, and the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC) met to discuss how to further assist schools in meeting program-level data reporting requirements to the Department, and for the Department to gain a better understanding of the unique situations impacting schools’ ability to reach the minimum reporting threshold.

- A significant number of schools (six digit OPEID level) are not meeting the Enrollment Reporting Statistics threshold.

- Registrars should work with their Financial Aid Office and Primary Destination Point Administrator (PDPA) to obtain NSLDS online access for the registrar’s office.

- The Enrollment Reporting Statistics include information on overall certifications, program-level certifications, and error information. The Department is primarily concerned with the percentage of students certified at the program-level. This is calculated by dividing the number of students with school certifications at the program-level during the specified evaluation period by the total number of students in the school’s portfolio at the start of the period. These numbers can be viewed online via the Enrollment Reporting Profile page at both the six digit and eight digit OPEID levels.

- The Department will be sending letters to non-compliant schools in the near future informing them that they are under the program-level certification threshold and need to improve their program-level enrollment reporting.

-Some common issues for schools with Enrollment Reporting Statistics under the threshold are:

  • Students who have not been certified during the evaluation period.
  1. Schools must report program-level data for students, including those who are only receiving Pell Grants. Schools should make sure ALL students in the roster are certified every 60 days.
  2. Schools should report students with terminal status twice. Two different certification dates are needed for terminal status in order for the student to be removed from the school’s roster. If reporting online, schools can report the certification date one day before, submit and confirm, then report it again with a more recent certification date and the student will fall off the roster.
  • High error rates
  1. Schools should correct errors to make sure students are reported correctly to NSLDS. Only students whose records are error free are counted toward Program-Level Certification percentages in the enrollment reporting statistics. Online data must be submitted error-free to pass online edits. Batch submittals return errors on the Error Acknowledgment Report. Errors should be corrected within 10 days.
  • Students taking classes at multiple schools or locations.
  1. Schools should specify in consortium agreements which school will report the student.  

- NSLDS has released several tools to assist schools to improve their Enrollment Reporting Statistics.  These tools include:

  • Online:
  1. New filters and sort capabilities on the Enrollment Maintenance and Enrollment Update pages
  2. Program indicators to distinguish between School vs COD reported programs on the Enrollment Maintenance page
  3. A new Program-level history page
  • Reports:
  1. Late Certifications Report
  2. Enrollment Errors Report
  3. NSLDS-COD Program Comparison Report (Coming Soon)
  4. NSLDS Enrollment Reporting Program-Level Certification Report