Joining the growing number of student lenders that have chosen to opt out of the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) program, the Brazos Higher Education Service Corp has announced that it too would discontinue their participation. The combination of a troublesome lending market and the passage of an act reducing federal subsidies to FFEL lenders have left students and parents worried about their college funding options.
Brazos is just one of the 26 lenders that have already stopped providing FFEL loans to students, reports The Wall Street Journal. Because Brazos is one of the largest student lenders, the news is particularly disconcerting to families already fearful of less-than-promising student loan options.
More than eighty percent of all federal student loans are provided by federally-subsidized lenders that participate in college FFEL programs. The remaining federal loans are disbursed through the less-popular Direct Loan program which allows students to borrow directly from the government.
Speaking to the US House Committee on Education and Labor, Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings recently proposed that more schools simply adopt the federal Direct Loan program. The suggestion sounds promising, but administrative setbacks and budget availability may prove to be a problem.
Though only a small percentage of the estimated 2,000 student lenders have pulled out of the FFEL program, the market is dominated by the top fifty lenders, a number of which have already left the FFEL program. Included in NASFAA's list of lenders that have either ended or suspended their FFEL services are the large originators NextStudent, Goal Financial, College Loan Corporation and College Board.
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