The Most Common Fine For Beauty and Wellness Schools: IPEDS Submission

The Most Common Fine For Beauty and Wellness Schools: IPEDS Submission

The Most Common Fine For Beauty and Wellness Schools: IPEDS Submission

Beauty and wellness schools’ most common fines for Title IV compliance issues are due to IPEDS submission issues. The Department of Education requires every school receiving Title IV funds to participate in this survey, but the process can be daunting for small schools with staff members who wear multiple hats. 


When an audit reveals a Title IV compliance issue, schools could face a finding or a fine. Fines are civil penalties that Federal Student Aid gives to institutions out of compliance with Title IV regulations. Fines come from various issues like campus security, misrepresentation, and financial issues, but the most common fine is for IPEDS nonsubmission.


IPEDS is the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System. It is a series of surveys conducted by the Department of Education to gather information from every higher education program participating in federal student financial aid programs. Every school that receives Title IV funding is required to complete this survey and report data on enrollment, graduation rates, finances, program prices, and more. 


In 2020, ED issued $72,500 in fees for IPEDS nonsubmission, predominantly to proprietary beauty and wellness schools. ED imposed $941,500 in IPEDS nonsubmission fines since 2010 for surveys that are not submitted completely and accurately within the required timeframe. As with all compliance regulations, submitting IPEDs reports correctly and on time is easier said than done. 


The survey is comprised of three submission periods during the year—fall, winter, and spring. For less than 2-year programs that have completed the survey before, like beauty and wellness schools, submission takes an estimated 39-65 hours, with 52 hours as the average. For schools that have not previously submitted IPEDs data, the process takes 56-94 hours. IPEDS does not allow for deadline extensions, so schools must submit data on time. 


Read on to learn more about the process, common issues with submission, and how to set your team up for IPEDS success to avoid fees.

What Does IPEDS Submission Entail?

The IPEDS submission process is six steps—the most important steps being data entry and data editing. After you enter the data, the survey will flag data that appears inaccurate. For example, if you had 1000 students one year, then 10,000 the next, the survey would flag that data as a potential typo. Beginning the survey as early as possible will ensure your staff has more time to check and recheck these fatal errors. Once staff reviews the data for errors, the survey is locked and migrated to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) database. 



Content and schedule

There are three submission periods throughout the year that require different data sets. 


Institutional Characteristics


12-month enrollment




Student Financial Aid

Graduation Rates

200% Graduation Rates


Outcome Measures


Fall Enrollment


Human Resources

Academic Libraries

There may be multiple departments responsible for data submission in large schools, including admissions/registrar’s office, financial aid/finance office, HR department, and academic staff. In small beauty and wellness schools where staff members wear many different hats, IPEDS submission may fall on the shoulders of one or two people.

Common Mistakes with IPEDs Submission

Skipping the instructions

It would be way too easy if the instructions were the same every year, right? According to the NCES, instructions could change every year, and errors can stem from not reading the instructions. The key takeaway isn’t just to read the instructions; it’s to ensure your staff has enough time to read and fully understand the instructions. If a staff member completed the survey in the past and is strapped for time, they simply may not be able to devote enough time to read the instructions thoroughly. 


Data errors or changes 

Anytime a human is touching data, it becomes prone to error. 100 quickly becomes 1,000 or even 10,000 with just the touch of a button. The survey may catch major errors, but your staff must have time to check and double-check their work. 


Additionally, if you have bad data to begin with, it doesn’t matter if your respondent is a whiz at manual data entry. If you implemented a new system with different calculations, your data might differ from the year prior. Be sure to indicate any data or calculation changes in your IPEDs reporting.

How To Prepare For IPEDS Submission

Check your data and data sources

If you implemented new software or changed your calculations, take time to analyze your data. Ensure the staff member responsible for IPEDs submission knows where to get the data and what, if anything, has changed since the prior year’s submission. 


Empower your staff with the tools they need to succeed 

IPEDS submission is a big lift, but it’s necessary to receive Title IV funds and prevent hefty fees. At small schools, staff members are already doing a million different things, including managing attendance and supporting students.


Fortunately, software exists to simplify the manual tasks that bog down beauty and wellness school administrators and take their focus away from important compliance tasks. For example, software that automates skills tracking and attendance can free up 12 hours per week or more previously spent on attendance management. That’s 12 hours or more per week that can now be spent on student success and compliance. 


Your staff is your biggest asset: Empowering them with tools to automate manual tasks will help them devote more time and focus to compliance issues, protecting your school from fines. 


Request a demo below if you’d like to learn more about how CourseKey empowers administrators. 

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