34 CFR § 682.401 - Basic program agreement.
(a) General. In order to participate in the FFEL programs, a guaranty agency shall enter into a basic agreement with the Secretary.
(b) Terms of agreement. In the basic agreement, the guaranty agency shall agree to ensure that its loan guarantee program meets the following requirements at all times:
(1) Reinstatement of borrower eligibility. Except as provided in § 668.35(b) for a borrower with a defaulted loan on which a judgment has been obtained and § 668.35(i) for a borrower who fraudulently obtained title IV, HEA program assistance, reinstatement of Title IV eligibility for a borrower with a defaulted loan must be in accordance with this paragraph (b)(1). For a borrower's loans held by a guaranty agency on which a reinsurance claim has been paid by the Secretary, the guaranty agency must afford a defaulted borrower, upon the borrower's request, renewed eligibility for Title IV assistance once the borrower has made satisfactory repayment arrangements as that term is defined in § 682.200.
(i) For purposes of this section, the determination of reasonable and affordable must -
(A) Include consideration of the borrower's and spouse's disposable income and necessary expenses including, but not limited to, housing, utilities, food, medical costs, dependent care costs, work-related expenses and other Title IV repayment;
(B) Not be a required minimum payment amount, e.g. $50, if the agency determines that a smaller amount is reasonable and affordable based on the borrower's total financial circumstances. The agency must include documentation in the borrower's file of the basis for the determination, if the monthly reasonable and affordable payment established under this section is less than $50.00 or the monthly accrued interest on the loan, whichever is greater.
(C) Be based on the documentation provided by the borrower or other sources including, but not limited to -
(1) Evidence of current income (e.g. proof of welfare benefits, Social Security benefits, Supplemental Security Income, Workers' Compensation, child support, veterans' benefits, two most recent pay stubs, most recent copy of U.S. income tax return, State Department of Labor reports);
(2) Evidence of current expenses (e.g. a copy of the borrower's monthly household budget, on a form provided by the guaranty agency); and
(3) A statement of the unpaid balance on all FFEL loans held by other holders.
(ii) A borrower may request that the monthly payment amount be adjusted due to a change in the borrower's total financial circumstances upon providing the documentation specified in paragraph (b)(4)(i)(C) of this section.
(iii) A guaranty agency must provide the borrower with a written statement of the reasonable and affordable payment amount required for the reinstatement of the borrower's eligibility for Title IV student assistance, and provide the borrower with an opportunity to object to those terms.
(iv) A guaranty agency must provide the borrower with written information regarding the possibility of loan rehabilitation if the borrower makes three additional reasonable and affordable monthly payments after making payments to regain eligibility for Title IV assistance and the consequences of loan rehabilitation.
(v) A guaranty agency must inform the borrower that he or she may only obtain reinstatement of borrower eligibility under this section once.
(2) Lender eligibility.
(i) An eligible lender may participate in the program of the agency under reasonable criteria established by the guaranty agency except to the extent that -
(A) The lender's eligibility has been limited, suspended, or terminated by the Secretary under subpart G of this part or by the agency under standards and procedures that are substantially the same as those in subpart G of this part; or
(B) The lender is disqualified by the Secretary under sections 432(h)(1), 432(h)(2), 435(d)(3), or 435(d)(5) of the Act or § 682.712; or
(C) There is a State constitutional prohibition affecting the lender's eligibility.
(ii) The agency may not guarantee a loan made by a school lender that is not located in the geographical area that the agency serves.
(iii) The guaranty agency may refuse to guarantee loans made by a school on behalf of students not attending that school.
(iv) The guaranty agency may, in determining whether to enter into a guarantee agreement with a lender, consider whether the lender has had prior experience in a similar Federal, State, or private nonprofit student loan program and the amount and percentage of loans that are currently delinquent or in default under that program.
(3) Insurance premiums and Federal default fees.
(i) Except for a Consolidation Loan or refinanced SLS or PLUS loans, a guaranty agency:
(A) May charge the lender an insurance premium for Stafford, SLS, or PLUS loans it guarantees prior to July 1, 2006; and
(B) Must collect, either from the lender or by payment from any other non-Federal source, a Federal default fee for any Stafford or PLUS loans it guarantees on or after July 1, 2006, to be deposited into the Federal Fund under § 682.419.
(ii) The guaranty agency may not use the Federal default fee for incentive payments to lenders, and may only use the insurance premium or the Federal default fee for costs incurred in guaranteeing loans or in the administration of the agency's loan guarantee program, as specified in § 682.410(a)(2) or § 682.419(c).
(iii) If a lender charges the borrower an insurance premium or Federal default fee, the lender must deduct the charge proportionately from each disbursement of the borrower's loan proceeds.
(iv) The amount of the insurance premium or Federal default fee, as applicable -
(A) May not exceed 3 percent of the principal balance for a loan disbursed on or before June 30, 1994;
(B) May not exceed 1 percent of the principal balance for a loan disbursed on or after July 1, 1994;
(C) Shall be 1 percent of the principal balance of a loan guaranteed on or after July 1, 2006 and prior to July 1, 2010.
(v) If the circumstances specified in paragraph (vi) exist, the guaranty agency shall refund to the lender any insurance premium or Federal default fee paid by the lender.
(vi) The lender shall refund to the borrower by a credit against the borrower's loan balance the insurance premium or Federal default fee paid by the borrower on a loan under the following circumstances:
(A) The insurance premium or Federal default fee attributable to each disbursement of a loan must be refunded if the loan check is returned uncashed to the lender.
(B) The insurance premium or Federal default fee, or an appropriate prorated amount of the premium or fee, must be refunded by application to the borrower's loan balance if -
(1) The loan or a portion of the loan is returned by the school to the lender in order to comply with the Act or with applicable regulations;
(2) Within 120 days of disbursement, the loan or a portion of the loan is repaid or returned, unless -
(i) The borrower has no FFEL Program loans in repayment status and has requested, in writing, that the repaid or returned funds be used for a different purpose; or
(ii) The borrower has a FFEL Program loan in repayment status, in which case the payment is applied in accordance with § 682.209(b) unless the borrower has requested, in writing, that the repaid or returned funds be applied as a cancellation of all or part of the loan;
(3) Within 120 days of disbursement, the loan check has not been negotiated; or
(4) Within 120 days of disbursement, the loan proceeds disbursed by electronic funds transfer or master check have not been released from the restricted account maintained by the school.
(4) Inquiries. The agency must be able to receive and respond to written, electronic, and telephone inquiries.
(5) Guaranty liability. The guaranty agency shall guarantee -
(i) 100 percent of the unpaid principal balance of each loan guaranteed for loans disbursed before October 1, 1993;
(ii) Not more than 98 percent of the unpaid principal balance of each loan guaranteed for loans first disbursed on or after October 1, 1993 and before July 1, 2006; and
(iii) Not more than 97 percent of the unpaid principal balance of each loan guaranteed for loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2006.
(6) Guaranty agency verification of default data. A guaranty agency must meet the requirements and deadlines provided for it in subpart M and N of 34 CFR part 668 for the cohort default rate process.
(7) Guaranty agency administration. In the case of a State loan guarantee program administered by a State government, the program must be administered by a single State agency, or by one or more private nonprofit institutions or organizations under the supervision of a single State agency. For this purpose, “supervision” includes, but is not limited to, setting policies and procedures, and having full responsibility for the operation of the program.
(8) Loan assignment.
(i) Except as provided in paragraph (b)(8)(iii) of this section, the guaranty agency must allow a loan to be assigned only if the loan is fully disbursed and is assigned to -
(A) An eligible lender;
(B) A guaranty agency, in the case of a borrower's default, death, total and permanent disability, or filing of a bankruptcy petition, or for other circumstances approved by the Secretary, such as a loan made for attendance at a school that closed or a false certification claim;
(C) An educational institution, whether or not it is an eligible lender, in connection with the institution's repayment to the agency or to the Secretary of a guarantee or a reinsurance claim payment made on a loan that was ineligible for the payment;
(D) A Federal or State agency or an organization or corporation acting on behalf of such an agency and acting as a conservator, liquidator, or receiver of an eligible lender; or
(E) The Secretary.
(ii) For the purpose of this paragraph, “assigned” means any kind of transfer of an interest in the loan, including a pledge of such an interest as security.
(iii) The guaranty agency must allow a loan to be assigned under paragraph (b)(8)(i) of this section, following the first disbursement of the loan if the assignment does not result in a change in the identity of the party to whom payments must be made.
(9) Transfer of guarantees. Except in the case of a transfer of guarantee requested by a borrower seeking a transfer to secure a single guarantor, the guaranty agency may transfer its guarantee obligation on a loan to another guaranty agency, only with the approval of the Secretary, the transferee agency, and the holder of the loan.
(10) Standards and procedures.
(i) The guaranty agency shall establish, disseminate to concerned parties, and enforce standards and procedures for -
(A) Ensuring that all lenders in its program meet the definition of “eligible lender” in section 435(d) of the Act and have a written lender agreement with the agency;
(B) Lender participation in its program;
(C) Limitation, suspension, termination of lender participation;
(D) Emergency action against a participating lender;
(E) The exercise of due diligence by lenders in making, servicing, and collecting loans; and
(F) The timely filing by lenders of default, death, disability, bankruptcy, closed school, false certification unpaid refunds, identity theft, and ineligible loan claims.
(ii) The guaranty agency shall ensure that its program and all participants in its program at all times meet the requirements of subparts B, C, D, and F of this part.
(11) Monitoring student enrollment. The guaranty agency shall monitor the enrollment status of a FFEL program borrower or student on whose behalf a parent has borrowed that includes, at a minimum, reporting to the current holder of the loan within 35 days of any change in the student's enrollment status reported that triggers -
(i) The beginning of the borrower's grace period; or
(ii) The beginning or resumption of the borrower's immediate obligation to make scheduled payments.
(12) Submission of interest and special allowance information. Upon the Secretary's request, the guaranty agency shall submit, or require its lenders to submit, information that the Secretary deems necessary for determining the amount of interest benefits and special allowance payable on the agency's guaranteed loans.
(13) Submission of information for reports. The guaranty agency shall require lenders to submit to the agency the information necessary for the agency to complete the reports required by § 682.414(b).
(14) Guaranty agency transfer of information.
(i) A guaranty agency from which another guaranty agency requests information regarding Stafford and SLS loans made after January 1, 1987, to students who are residents of the State for which the requesting agency is the principal guaranty agency shall provide -
(A) The name and social security number of the student; and
(B) The annual loan amount and the cumulative amount borrowed by the student in loans under the Stafford and SLS programs guaranteed by the responding agency.
(ii) The reasonable costs incurred by an agency in fulfilling a request for information made under paragraph (b)(14)(i) of this section must be paid by the guaranty agency making the request.
(15) Information on defaults. The guaranty agency shall, upon the request of a school, furnish information with respect to students, including the names and addresses of such students, who were enrolled at that school and who are in default on the repayment of any loan guaranteed by that agency.
(16) Information on loan sales or transfers. The guaranty agency must, upon the request of a school, furnish to the school last attended by the student, information with respect to the sale or transfer of a borrower's loan prior to the beginning of the repayment period, including -
(i) Notice of assignment;
(ii) The identity of the assignee;
(iii) The name and address of the party by which contact may be made with the holder concerning repayment of the loan; and
(iv) The telephone number of the assignee or, if the assignee uses a lender servicer, another appropriate number for borrower inquiries.
(17) Third-party servicers. The guaranty agency may not enter into a contract with a third-party servicer that the Secretary has determined does not meet the financial and compliance standards under § 682.416. The guaranty agency shall provide the Secretary with the name and address of any third-party servicer with which the agency enters into a contract and, upon request by the Secretary, a copy of that contract.
(18) Consolidation of defaulted FFEL loans.
(i) A guaranty agency may charge collection costs in an amount not to exceed 18.5 percent of the outstanding principal and interest on a defaulted FFEL Program loan that is paid off by a Direct Consolidation loan.
(ii) On or after October 1, 2006, when returning proceeds to the Secretary from the consolidation of a defaulted loan, a guaranty agency that charged the borrower collection costs must remit an amount that equals the lesser of the actual collection costs charged or 8.5 percent of the outstanding principal and interest of the loan.
(iii) On or after October 1, 2009, when returning proceeds to the Secretary from the consolidation of a defaulted loan that is paid off with excess consolidation proceeds as defined in paragraph (b)(18)(iv) of this section, a guaranty agency must remit the entire amount of collection costs repaid through the consolidation loan.
(iv) The term excess consolidation proceeds means, for any Federal fiscal year beginning on or after October 1, 2009, the amount of Consolidation Loan proceeds received for defaulted loans under the FFEL Program that exceed 45 percent of the agency's total collections on defaulted loans in that Federal fiscal year.
(19) Change in agency's records system. The agency shall provide written notification to the Secretary at least 30 days prior to placing its new guarantees or converting the records relating to its existing guaranty portfolio to an information or computer system that is owned by, or otherwise under the control of, an entity that is different than the party that owns or controls the agency's existing information or computer system. If the agency is soliciting bids from third parties with respect to a proposed conversion, the agency shall provide written notice to the Secretary as soon as the solicitation begins. The notification described in this paragraph must include a concise description of the agency's conversion project and the actual or estimated cost of the project.
(20) Plans to Reduce Consolidation of defaulted loans. A guaranty agency shall establish and submit to the Secretary for approval, procedures to ensure that consolidation loans are not an excessive proportion of the guaranty agency's recoveries on defaulted loans.
(c) Review of forms and procedures.
(1) The guaranty agency shall submit to the Secretary its write-off criteria and procedures. The agency may not use these materials until the Secretary approves them.
(2) The guaranty agency shall promptly submit to the Secretary its regulations, statements of procedures and standards, agreements, and other materials that substantially affect the operation of the agency's program, and any proposed changes to those materials. Except as provided in paragraph (c)(1) of this section, the agency may use these materials unless and until the Secretary disapproves them.
(3) The guaranty agency must use common application forms, promissory notes, Master Promissory Notes (MPN), and other common forms approved by the Secretary. Each loan made under an MPN is enforceable in accordance with the terms of the MPN and is eligible for claim payment based on a true and exact copy of such MPN.
(4) The guaranty agency must develop and implement appropriate procedures that provide for the granting of a student deferment as specified in § 682.210(a)(6)(iv) and (c)(3) and require their lenders to use these procedures.
(5) The guaranty agency shall ensure that all program materials meet the requirements of Federal and State law, including, but not limited to, the Act and the regulations in this part and part 668.
(d) College Access Initiative.
(1) A guaranty agency shall establish a plan to promote access to postsecondary education by -
(i) Providing the Secretary and the public with information on Internet web links and a comprehensive listing of postsecondary education opportunities, programs, publications and other services available in the State, or States for which the guaranty agency serves as the designated guaranty agency;
(ii) Promoting and publicizing information for students and traditionally underrepresented populations on college planning, career preparation, and paying for college in coordination with other entities that provide or distribute such information in the State, or States for which the guaranty agency serves as the designated guaranty agency;
(2) The activities required by this section may be funded from the guaranty agency's Operating Fund in accordance with § 682.423(c)(1)(vii) or from funds remaining in restricted accounts established pursuant to section 422(h)(4) of the Act.
(3) The guaranty agency shall ensure that the information required by this subsection is available to the public by November 5, 2006 and is -
(i) Free of charge; and
(ii) Available in print.
(1) A guaranty agency must work with schools that participated in its program to develop and make available high-quality educational materials and programs that provide training to students and their families in budgeting and financial management, including debt management and other aspects of financial literacy, such as the cost of using high-interest loans to pay for postsecondary education, and how budgeting and financial management relate to the title IV student loan programs.
(2) The materials and programs described in paragraph (e)(1) of this section must be in formats that are simple and understandable to students and their families, and must be made available to students and their families by the guaranty agency before, during, and after a student's enrollment at an institution of higher education.
(3) A guaranty agency may provide similar programs and materials to an institution that participates only in the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program.
(4) A lender or loan servicer may also provide an institution with outreach and financial literacy information consistent with the requirements of paragraphs (e)(1) and (2) of this section.