Summary: This letter will serve as the Department of Educations approval of the enclosed Federal PLUS Loan application materials.
Dear Guaranty Agency Director:
This letter will serve as the Department of Educations approval of the enclosed Federal PLUS Loan application materials. The application materials include the following documents:
Application and Promissory Note for Federal PLUS Loan
Instructions for Completing Federal PLUS Loan Application and Promissory Note
Borrowers Rights and Responsibilities
Endorser Addendum to Federal PLUS Loan Application and Promissory Note
Instructions for Completing Endorser Addendum to Federal PLUS Loan Application and Promissory Note
The PLUS loan application materials have been revised to include changes made to the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program by the 1998 Amendments to the Higher Education Act of 1965. The new application materials also incorporate suggestions made by the financial aid community in response to the Departments May, 1999, request for comments. While changes were made to the text of the application materials, no changes were made to the data collection items. Since the new application materials reflect changes made to the Higher Education Act, agencies and lenders should implement them as soon as possible. At the latest, the new application materials must be used for applications issued on or after March 1, 2000. Complete old PLUS forms received by lenders after that date may be processed.
Definition of Parent No Longer Includes Legal Guardian
The Borrower Section of the PLUS application instructions now states that the legal guardian of a student may no longer borrow a PLUS loan on his or her behalf. In prior years, the Department treated legal guardians as parents. However, the Higher Education Act does not define parent, and the Department is prohibited from regulating in this area. This change in the definition of parent is discussed in more detail in Dear Colleague Letter GEN-98-26, dated November, 1998.
Implementation of New Forms
No changes to, deletions from, or additions to the prescribed language in these application materials will be permitted, except that information and/or logos identifying the guaranty agency, lender, or program may be printed in the boxes provided in the upper right-hand corner of the application form and the endorser addendum, and the front page of the application and endorser addendum instructions. These boxes are intended to provide a guaranty agency, lender, or program with a space to include its logo, name, a telephone number, and appropriate coding (for example, bar coding to reflect the source, type, or other identification system for filing or processing). Bar coding is permitted in other places on the application materials (that is, the side or bottom margins) to meet requirements for individual processing systems. These coding identifiers may not be printed on the application materials where they would alter the general layout of the form. Organizations may print in the lower margin of the application materials a reference to the type, for example: original, student copy, and file copy.
Instructions for the School Section and Lender Section are not required to be included in each application. If the school and lender instructions are not printed in each application, the guaranty agency must send a separate mailing of the instructions to each school and lender participating in the agencys program and must ensure that one set of instructions is mailed with each subsequent supply of loan application forms that the agency forwards to the school or lender.
The borrower or endorser is instructed to complete the form using a black ink ballpoint pen or a typewriter. This request is made to accommodate imaging technology.
The Borrowers Rights and Responsibilities statement may be enhanced by printing in color. The other enclosed documents must be printed with black ink on white paper, except as noted above regarding printing in the boxes in the upper right-hand corners of the forms. The type face, point size, and general presentation of the form may not be changed from the enclosed documents approved by the Secretary.
Obtaining Copies for Reproduction
Arrangements have been made to provide the necessary output for the PLUS application materials. Forms will be available in PDF format on EDs IFAP web site at http://ifap.ed.gov and on the NCHELP web site at www.nchelp.org. Guaranty agencies are responsible for ensuring that the forms used by the agency or lender are identical to the forms approved by the Secretary. No changes may be made to the forms except those expressly authorized above.
Development of Multi-year Forms
The PLUS application materials have been approved for a two-year period, with an expiration date of
July 31, 2001. The FFEL community is currently drafting a multi-year PLUS application and promissory note for EDs review. After the multi-year PLUS application materials are approved by the Office of Management and Budget, they will replace the enclosed single-year PLUS application materials.
Jeff Baker, Director
Program Development Division
Office of Student Financial Assistance