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(98-L-204) Extension of lender audit requirement deadline.

DCLPublicationDate: 3/1/98
DCLID: 98-L-204
AwardYear:
Summary: Extension of lender audit requirement deadline.


March 1998

98-L-204

SUBJECT: Extension of lender audit requirement deadline.


Dear Colleague:

Section 428(b)(1)(U)(iii) of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA), requires all lenders participating in the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program to have an annual compliance audit. See 34 C.F.R. ยง682.305(c). In transmitting the Audit Guide for these audits, the Department of Education (the Department) provided that the deadline for completion and, if necessary, submission of the initial audit completed in accordance with this requirement would be September 30, 1995. See Dear Colleague Letter 95-L-176 (March 1995). The Department later extended the deadline for submission of the audit to June 30, 1996, for any audit period in which the lender originated and/or held FFEL Program loans totalling $5 million or less. See Dear Colleague Letter 95-L-183 (September 14, 1995).


The act providing Fiscal Year 1996 appropriations for the Department (Pub. L. 104-134) included a provision prohibiting the Department from using funds made available under that act to enforce the lender compliance audit requirement against lenders with loan portfolios equal to or less than $5 million. This language extended the deadline for submission of the audit by lenders with loan portfolios equal to or less than $5 million from July 1, 1996 to October 1, 1996.

The Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act of 1997 (Pub. L. 104-208) providing Fiscal Year 1997 appropriations for the Department contained the same "prohibiting" language. This language again extended the deadline for submission of the audit by lenders with loan portfolios equal to or less than $5 million from October 1, 1996 to October 1, 1997.

The Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 1998 (Pub. L. 105-78) providing Fiscal Year 1998 (October 1, 1997 - September 30, 1998) appropriations for the Department contains this same "prohibiting" language. Therefore, this language again extends the deadline for submission of the audit by lenders with loan portfolios equal to or less than $5 million from October 1, 1997 to October 1, 1998. As was noted last year, this provision of the appropriations bill does not eliminate the requirement that lenders with this volume of FFEL Program loans complete an annual compliance audit for all the fiscal years subject to the audit requirement; rather it simply delays the date by which the audits must be completed.

In light of possible further legislative action by Congress, the Department has decided to again postpone the deadline for completion and, if necessary, submission of the audit until June 30, 1999, for any audit period in which the lender originated and/or held FFEL Program loans totalling $5 million or less.

The Department appreciates the concerns raised by small volume lenders regarding the cost and burden of the audit requirement. The Department anticipates working with Congress to ensure that the audit requirement is implemented in a manner consistent with the goals of the statute.

Sincerely,


Diane Rogers
Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary
Student Financial Assistance Programs

Last Modified: 10/12/1998