Federal rules requiring institutions to tell students if they will be qualified to practice their chosen career in their chosen state went into effect earlier this month. Regulatory experts say few institutions were prepared.
As of July 1, all higher education institutions in receipt of federal financial aid are required to inform prospective students whether a degree program will qualify them to work in the state where they are located.
The new rule is intended to prevent students from studying for years to enter professions such as nursing or teaching, only to realize upon graduation that they do not meet state-level requirements for employment.
Horror stories of students wasting thousands of dollars on the “wrong” degree for state professional certification are uncommon but not unheard-of. While there are often pathways for professionals to become licensed in other states, additional training can be costly and time-consuming if reciprocity agreements are not in place.
No student wants to make an uninformed decision about their future, said Sharyl Thompson, CEO of Higher Education Regulatory Consulting. Students should know where they will be qualified to work when they graduate. But providing this information to students is not a straightforward task for institutions, she said.