What to Report, What to Disclose: New DOE Regulations Take Effect July 1
Beginning July 1, 2000, the Department of Education’s amended reporting and disclosure regulations, 34 C.F.R. Part 668, will take effect. Are you ready? Do you know —
- What information must be made available or disclosed to enrolled students and prospective students?
- Whether this information can be disclosed over the Internet?
- How to calculate graduation and transfer-out rates?
- Which crimes must be reported and how to treat hate crimes?
- Whether schools must report crimes disclosed only to pastoral or professional counselors?
- What is an EADA report?
These are just some of the issues addressed by the new regulations, which apply to all educational institutions participating in Pell Grants, Perkins Loans, Work Study and other student financial assistance programs under Title IV of the Higher Education Act. In general, the regulations cover three areas: (1) mandatory disclosures to students and prospective students; (2) campus security statistics and reports, and (3) intercollegiate athletic program participation rates and financial support data.
Enrolled and prospective students must be given detailed information about many subjects, including financial assistance, tuition and costs, requirements and procedures for withdrawal, security reports, and graduation and transfer-out rates. Fortunately, much of this information may be disclosed through Internet or intranet Web sites, subject to some restrictions. Certain institutions must also disclose information concerning athletic program participation rates, financial support, and completion or graduation rates for student-athletes. However, an institution may be relieved of this obligation to the extent an athletic association or conference of which it is a member voluntarily publishes the applicable graduation-rate data.
The DOE has modified and enlarged the list of crimes that must be reported. Notably, institutions must report "hate crimes … by category of prejudice." Hate crimes occur, according to the regulations, where the victim was intentionally selected because of actual or perceived race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity or disability. The DOE has also redefined who will be considered a "campus security authority" responsible for reporting crimes. Pastoral and professional mental health counselors are now expressly exempt if acting within the scope of their duties. In compiling the necessary crime statistics, institutions must make reasonable, good-faith efforts to obtain the information from local or state police agencies on which they are entitled to rely. Security reports must be prepared for each "campus," as redefined.
Institutions with intercollegiate athletic programs must also prepare annual reports to the Secretary of Education under the Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act (EADA). The reports must contain information about participation rates for male and female undergraduates, financial support, and revenues and expenses attributable to certain athletic programs. The reports must also include information about the number, gender and average annual salary of coaches and assistant coaches.