Gainful Employment Certificate Protocol

Financial Aid Eligibility and Certificate Programs


Certificate programs at private, nonprofit and public institutions, and nearly all for-profit degree and certificate programs must prepare students for “gainful employment in a recognized occupation” in order for those students to be eligible for funding under the Higher Education Act Title IV student assistance programs [federal student financial aid]. Drexel University maintains a list of certificate programs that are eligible for federal financial aid and approved by the US Dept. of Education, and they are easily accessible at Financial Aid Eligible Certificate Programs at Drexel.

Protocol for Seeking Financial Aid Eligibility Status for Certificate Programs


  1. The item, “Is it your intent to have this certificate be aid eligible?” is now entered into CourseLeaf as part of the initial submission proposal for new programs.
  2. The new or existing program [if existing…. proposal is submitted to the Faculty Senate through the Senate Committee on Academic Affairs (SCAA) for the academic review and approval/non-approval].
  3. Faculty Senate renders decision.
  4. The Office of the Provost, in conjunction with its partner offices, reviews the eligibility for gainful employment.
  5. University Catalog Office notifies the Office of Financial Aid of certificates that the Faculty Senate has approved that have also been approved by the Office of the Provost for consideration for Financial Aid Eligibility.
  6. The Office of Financial Aid submits a request for approval of financial aid eligibility to the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) [quarterly activity].
  7. DOE renders decision.
  8. If approved, the Office of Financial Aid arranges to update Banner for inclusion as an “Aid Eligible Certificate.”
  9. University Catalog Office notifies college/school housing the certificate of DOE approval and change of status in Banner.
  10. List of financial aid-eligible certificate programs is updated on the website by the Catalog Office.
  11. Process is completed.