Many course providers like to provide information to students about how open a test enrollment window, pay for the test, and then schedule an appointment. We at NMLS think this is a great idea and we appreciate providers assisting to get the word out about the process. However, a recent review of a few web sites indicates that some of the instructions being provided are not accurate and/or are not up-to-date. To help ensure everybody has current instructions we’ve put together a handy “3 Easy Steps” sheet that providers can either print out and make available to students or cut and paste onto their web sites. The document is in MS Word format and includes embedded web links and the URLs to either Quick Guides that are available in the NMLS Resource Center as well as to the test appointment page.
Using the “3 Easy Steps” guide will ensure a smooth enrollment process for all MLOs who still need to take either the National or State Component of the MLO SAFE test. The guide is posted in the Course Provider section of the NMLS Resource Center under notices and examples at http://mortgage.nationwidelicensingsystem.org/courseprovider/Pages/Resources.aspx
Updated information pertaining to the pass rate of the MLO SAFE Test to include the pass rate for subsequent re-takes is now available:
As of August 31, 2010:
– The pass rate for the National Component for first-time test takers is: 70%
– The pass rate for re-taking the National Component is: 44%
– The aggregate pass rate for the State Component for first-time test takers is: 82%
– The aggregate pass rate for re-taking a State Component is: 63%
Specific details, including the number of MLOs who have taken either the National or State Component of the test is available in the NMLS Resource Center at: http://mortgage.nationwidelicensingsystem.org/profreq/testing/Documents/SAFE%20MLO%20Test%20Pass%20Rate%20Announcement.pdf
The MLO SAFE Test content outlines for FL, MN, and NV have been released and are available in the NMLS Resource Center. Course providers should make mention of the outlines to their students as they are an excellent resource to assist MLOs to prepare for a specific test. The outlines provide weightings for the various topics that are on the test, and many of them contain reference lists. The test outlines for the National test and other state components are available at: http://mortgage.nationwidelicensingsystem.org/profreq/testing/Pages/TestContentOutline.aspx
Every other week or so, NMLS receives a course with content that is plagiarized, primarily from federal agencies, law firms, state web sites, and industry groups. Apparently, what some content authors don’t understand is that with the use of the Internet, plagiarism is easy to detect either by performing a Google search or through the use of online tools such as Turnitin.com. As previously noted in earlier articles of the Newsletter, NMLS requires that sources be cited. This requirement extends to all content, even if it comes from a federal or state agency. Content on web sites that belong to a law firms or other such organizations is often copyrighted; the cutting and pasting of content from a web site and including it as part of a course without permission from the source is a violation of copyright law.
Please do not engage in plagiarism. Courses that are submitted to NMLS for approval and are found to contain plagiarized material will be denied.
Course providers who are currently preparing courses for the annual renewal process are reminded of the requirement to include “exercises, examples, and/or case studies regarding state law and to cite references in their material.” The requirement has been in existence since January 2010. The intent of the requirement, particularly the requirement to cite references, is to assist MLOs to better prepare for the National and State Components of the MLO SAFE test by exposing them to the laws and statues that are contained on the test content outline. The requirement to include case studies, particularly in the case of state law, is intended to reinforce learning by providing context for how the law is applied in real-world situations.
To assist providers to meet these requirements a model course syllabus and a model PowerPoint presentation that shows how regulations and laws should be referenced are available under the Notice and Examples section under the Course Provider tab of the NMLS Resource Center at: http://mortgage.nationwidelicensingsystem.org/courseprovider/Pages/Resources.aspx
As more course providers continue to develop CE courses in preparation of the annual licensure renewal period, folks are reminded that NMLS has put together guidance regarding how to construct those courses. Specifically, NMLS interprets the intent of the SAFE Act’s requirement for annual continuing education to achieve one of the following objectives:
– To provide new or updated information on federal and state mortgage-related laws.
– To go into more depth or detail on a particular law, regulation, or program than is typically covered during pre-licensure education.
– Present a new topic or sub-topic which is different from what is typically presented as part of pre-licensure education and may be of interests/value to a segment of the mortgage industry (e.g. a program pertaining to reverse mortgages).
NMLS has received for approval a number of CE courses that are essentially “repackaged” of pre-licensure courses that while on the surface provide information, do not achieve any of the objectives listed above. The problem created when a typical 20 hour PE courses is condensed into 8 hours is that the course becomes a broad survey of federal laws, mortgage programs, products, and terms and definitions that, because of time limitation, results in each topic receiving only a few minutes of attention. Information regarding how to address this problem is found in the document “Notice Regarding Guidance on Development of NMLS Approved Continuing Education Courses” which is posted under Notices and Examples in the NMLS Resource Center at: http://mortgage.nationwidelicensingsystem.org/courseprovider/Course%20Provider%20Resources/Notice%20Regarding%20Guidance%20on%20Development%20of%20SAFE%20Act%20Continuing%20Education%20Courses.pdf
Annual course renewals are underway. The process is going very well and courses that have been submitted on time are being processed with no delay. Twenty-eight courses from 11 course providers were up for renewal in August; 68 courses are up for renewal in September. To avoid any risk of delay in renewing courses providers are encouraged to submit their course material as soon as possible when the monthly renewal window opens. Details regarding the process are available in the User Guide: NMLS Approved Course Renewal Process which is available in the NMLS Resource Center at: http://mortgage.nationwidelicensingsystem.org/courseprovider/Pages/Resources.aspx