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Will access to federal loans continue to be available?
Yes. The last several years have brought tremendous change within the student loan industry. There has been a steady decline in the number of banks willing to participate in the FFEL student loan program, due both to significant legislative changes and to the effect of the economy in general, reinforcing the need for a transition to Direct Lending.
In fact, under the Direct Loan program, more borrowers will be eligible for the PLUS loan (for which a credit check is required; typically a higher rate of parents and students are approved for this loan in DL).
The Obama Administration strongly supports Direct Lending, and it anticipates that savings achieved by this transition will go toward funding other federal financial aid programs. It is probable that ultimately all colleges and universities will be required to convert to the Direct Lending program in the future. The U.S. Department of Education has repeatedly assured schools and students that funding through these programs will be accessible.
What will differ in the loan process with the introduction of DL?
All new students who have paid their deposit for Fall 2010 and returning students who are enrolled will be mailed a packet in late June with instructions on how to apply the Federal Direct Stafford and PLUS loans for Fall 2010.
All students will be required to complete a loan request form and a Direct Loan MPN. First time borrowers will be required to also complete the Entrance counseling session online (even if you did one in the past under FFELP or under DL at another school).
I know I will receive more specific instructions about Direct Lending and the requirements when I receive my packet in late June, but is there anything I can do now to help me with the transition?
If you haven't yet filed your Free Application for Federal Aid (FAFSA) for 2010-2011 you should do so as soon as possible (www.fafsa.gov. If you have filed, remember to update it if necessary if you based your information on estimated tax data and have since filed your taxes (go to "FAFSA Follow-Up").
Otherwise, it's best to wait until you have specific instructions from the Office of Financial Aid informing you how and when to secure your Direct Loans. Back to List