DCLID: Disaster Letter-97-2
Summary: Updated listings of declared disaster areas for recent floods in California, Idaho, Nevada, and Washington.
January 21, 1997
SUMMARY: Updated listings of declared disaster areas for recent floods
in California, Idaho, Nevada, and Washington.
Dear Guaranty Agency Director:
In our previous letter dated January 14, we notified you of the areas that
President Clinton had designated as flood disaster areas in California,
Idaho, and Nevada, as of January 14. As explained in our previous letter,
the listings of designated disaster areas were complete as of January 14.
Since then, President Clinton has designated additional flood disaster
areas in California, Idaho, and Washington. We are including those new
areas (underlined) in the comprehensive list below. These new areas
should be treated the same as if they had appeared on the January 14
flood disaster letter you received a few days ago.
NEW DISASTER AREAS:
In response to the flooding that occurred in early January in California,
Idaho, Nevada, and Washington, President Clinton has declared the
following counties and jurisdiction to be disaster areas (new areas are
Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, Del Norte,
El Dorado, Fresno, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Madera, Marin,
Mariposa, Mendocino, MERCED, Modoc, Mono, Monterey, Napa,
Nevada, Placar, Plumas, Sacramento, San Benito, San Joaquin,
San Mateo, SANTA CLARA, Santa Cruz, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou,
Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Tulare, Tuolumne,
Yolo, Yuba, and the city of Morgan Hill.
Adams, Boundary, Bonner, Boise, Clearwater, Elmore, Gem,
Idaho, Latah, NEZ PERCE, Payette, Shoshone Valley, and Washington.
Douglas, Lyon, Storey, Washoe, and the city of Carson City.
The list of designated disaster areas is complete as of the date of this
letter. If additional areas are designated by the President after the date of
this letter, we will send a revised comprehensive list to you. In the
meantime, lenders and guaranty agencies may contact the Department's
toll-free number at 1-800-433-7327, Monday through Friday from 9:00
a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST for further updates.
As explained in our January 14 letter, the Department believes it must
reevaluate its current policy for handling natural disasters. Please refer to
that letter for more details. Until a "Dear Colleague" letter is published
providing additional guidance, the Department strongly recommends that
lenders and guaranty agencies take the following steps to provide relief to
affected borrowers who contact them:
1. Loan holders are strongly recommended to grant forbearances to
borrowers who contact them and indicate that they have been adversely
affected by the disaster and need temporary relief from their loan
obligations. If the holder believes that the borrower has been harmed and
needs assistance, the holder may grant a forbearance for up to 3 months
based on either the borrower's oral or written request for assistance,
which must be documented in the holder's files.
2. The holder does not need to obtain supporting documentation or a
signed written agreement from the borrower to justify a forbearance for
this initial 3-month period. The Secretary will decline to enforce the
requirements of 34 CFR 682.211(c) for this period.
3. A continuation of the forbearance past this 3-month period will
require supporting documentation and a written agreement from the
This interim policy is effective immediately, while we continue to
reevaluate our current policy. We hope to balance the interests of
borrowers and taxpayers with those of loan holders, but our primary
concern must be for the borrowers and taxpayers. If you have comments
or questions concerning this interim policy, or if you believe other
approaches for handling these natural disasters would be more
appropriate, please contact me at (202) 708-8242, or by fax at (202) 708-
Pamela A. Moran
Chief, Loans Branch
Policy Development Division
Student Financial Assistance Programs
cc: ED Regional Offices
National Council of Higher Education Loan Programs, Inc.
Consumer Bankers Association
National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators