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(GEN-99-21) (GEN-99-21) Extending Institutional Eligibility to Award Increased Loan Amounts for Health Professions Schools

DCLPublicationDate: 7/1/99
DCLID: GEN-99-21
Summary: Extending Institutional Eligibility to Award Increased Loan Amounts for Health Professions Schools

July 1999


Summary: This letter announces the extension of institutional eligibility to award increased unsubsidized loan amounts for the 1999-2000 academic year, due to the phaseout of the Health Education Assistance Loan (HEAL) Program.

References: Dear Colleague Letters GEN-96-14, GEN-97-4, GEN-97-14 and GEN-98-18

Dear Partner:

Section 428H(d)(2) of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA), authorizes the Secretary of Education to increase loan limits for unsubsidized loans to certain student borrowers under the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program and the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program. Our understanding is that this provision was included in the HEA to address the needs of health professions students who were affected by the phaseout of the Health Education Assistance Loan (HEAL) Program.

In 1996 we decided that only those schools that had participated in the HEAL Program during the last federal fiscal year in which HEAL was fully authorized -- FY '95 (October 1, 1994 through September 30, 1995), would be eligible to award unsubsidized loans in excess of the regular maximum amounts. This was because students at schools that did not participate in the HEAL program during FY 95 (as well as those that subsequently dropped out of HEAL) became ineligible for HEAL when their school decided not to participate in the program, not because of the phaseout.

In connection with the phaseout of HEAL, the Office of the Secretary has recently been reviewing the initial policy of limiting these increased loan amounts to schools participating in HEAL during FY ’95. The Secretary has determined that the completion of the phaseout of HEAL has changed the basis for the original policy. The Secretary has determined that it is not fair to health professions students to base their maximum loan amount on their school’s former participation in a program which no longer provides any loans. Therefore, the Secretary is extending to all institutions the eligibility to award increased loan amounts to students enrolled in eligible Health Professions disciplines, as discussed below. This extended authority is granted regardless of whether the school previously participated in the HEAL Program, and is effective for any loan period that begins on or after May 1, 1999.

These increased limits for unsubsidized loans are available only for students enrolled in those health professions disciplines that were funded under the HEAL program. Additionally, the health profession program at an institution must be accredited by an approved accrediting agency. Please refer to the attachment to this letter for a complete listing of the health professions disciplines whose students are eligible for the increased funding and the approved accreditation agency for each discipline.

If you have any questions or comments on the contents of this letter, please contact Vanessa Freeman in the Program Development Division of the Office of Student Financial Assistance. Vanessa can be reached by email at or by phone at (202)708-8242.

We appreciate your patience and cooperation as we move to make certain that, after the phaseout of HEAL, our health professions students have continued access to federally supported student loan programs.


Diane Rogers, Chief of Staff
Office of the Deputy Secretary

Attachment A

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