HEat Index, Issue 8 – The FAFSA, Gainful Reporting, and We Go MAD



In this issue of our newsletter, we delve into the complexities and challenges currently facing higher education, from the ongoing FAFSA complications to the delayed gainful employment reporting requirements. Then, we look at post-college outcomes by state before going a little MAD about data and analytics. 

After reading today’s issue, let us know what you think of the MAD in the comments! 


More on the FAFSA Fiasco From the Trenches 

From College Financial-Aid Officers Are Running Out of Time — and Losing Patience | The Chronicle of Higher Education   

Through interviews with financial aid officers, The Chronicle sheds light on the extensive challenges institutions are encountering due to the current FAFSA situation.     

Our Thoughts 

Typically, this section contains my personal reflections on the article. However, I’m not sure I could express my thoughts better than this quote from the article:  

But if you care about college access and social mobility, and the diversity of the students who fill your quads and classrooms, not to mention your institution’s financial well-being, then the continuing complications with the FAFSA are your concern, too. Everywhere, anxious applicants are still waiting to find out what they would have to pay to attend the colleges on their lists. And until they finally receive that crucial information, the enrollment process will remain stuck in neutral.  

The reality of the US higher education system is that financial aid is essential for most students to afford college, and without enrolled students, institutions cannot survive. The collective impact of these FAFSA issues, including bugs, glitches, and delays, is expected to lead to decreased enrollments at many institutions this fall, and underscores a critical vulnerability in our educational systems.  


Gainful Reporting is Delayed 

From Education Department delays gainful reporting deadline | Inside Higher Ed   

The Department of Education has announced that the reporting requirements for its new gainful employment and financial value transparency rule will now take effect October 1, 2024.  

Our Thoughts 

After calls last week for relief from the pressures of having to report gainful employment while also dealing with the FAFSA issues, it’s a positive sign that the Department of Education listened. Based upon the continuing FAFSA challenges, I’m not sure October 1 is far enough in the future, especially given the amount of information institutions are required to report to fulfill the new rules.  

If you need a quick primer on the impacts of these changes, I highly recommend these three posts from the On EdTech Newsletter by Phil Hill and Associates: 

These posts do an excellent job of explaining the changes and implications for higher education institutions. They highlight the significant change in scope of the new rules and discuss the lack of clarity related to data reporting requirements. If your institution has not started a conversation about these changes, I would encourage you to consider doing so before summer arrives.  


Post-College Outcomes – State Ratings 

From Rating states’ work on post-college outcomes | Inside Higher Ed   

A new Strada Education Network report reveals that most states lag in post-college outcomes due to a lack of career coaching, work-based learning, and alignment with employer needs.   

Our Thoughts 

As I’ve discussed before, public confidence in the value of a degree is at an all-time low and more high school students are considering alternative pathways to careers post-high school. Although institutions have done a better job of increasing access to higher education, this report illustrates the current importance of adding or increasing career services, internships, and other experiential learning opportunities to undergraduate offerings.   

Additionally, this report underscores the crucial role individual states play in improving graduates’ employment outcomes and aligning educational programs with labor market demands. Recognizing the gaps and opportunities can guide institutions in advocating for policies, resources, and practices that better prepare students for post-college success, thus enhancing their value in the economy and society. 


MAD Ideas! 

From Full Steam Ahead: The 2024 MAD (Machine Learning, AI & Data) Landscape | Matt Turck  

The 10th annual look at the state of the data, analytics, machine learning, and AI ecosystem, complete with trends, themes, and thoughts on where this sector might go next.   

Our Thoughts 

I recognize that after clicking the link, you’re probably thinking “wait…this isn’t about higher education?!?” but hear me out. Data and the information we can draw from it have become high priorities for many institutions and their employees, and, in the 2024 EDUCAUSE Top 10, data plays a starring role in at least half of the ideas presented.   

Because of this, I believe it is essential that those who work in or with data are aware of the current landscape and future trends, and how it may impact your work. As much as we all love Argos, we know it takes an ecosystem of interconnected applications working together to meet your data needs. We read the MAD to get insights into the direction of the data market and help inform us about what we might consider next. We thought you might enjoy reading it as well! 

Allen Taylor
Allen Taylor
Senior Solutions Ambassador at Evisions

Allen Taylor is a self-proclaimed higher education and data science nerd. He currently serves as a Senior Solutions Ambassador at Evisions and is based out of Pennsylvania. With over 20 years of higher education experience at numerous public, private, small, and large institutions, Allen has successfully lead institution-wide initiatives in areas such as student success, enrollment management, advising, and technology and has presented at national and regional conferences on his experiences. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Anthropology from Western Carolina University, a Master of Science degree in College Student Personnel from The University of Tennessee, and is currently pursuing a PhD in Teaching, Learning, and Technology from Lehigh University. When he’s trying to avoid working on his dissertation, you can find him exploring the outdoors, traveling at home and abroad, or in the kitchen trying to coax an even better loaf of bread from the oven.

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