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Notice to guaranty agencies of invitation to participate in Voluntary Flexible Agreements. Deadline for submission of application's is August 27, 1999.

Attachments:
PublicationDate: 7/28/99
FRPart:
RegPartsAffected:
PageNumbers: 40859-40860
Summary: Notice to guaranty agencies of invitation to participate in Voluntary Flexible Agreements. Deadline for submission of application's is August 27, 1999.
CommentDueDate:

  
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[Federal Register: July 28, 1999 (Volume 64, Number 144)]
[Notices]
[Page 40859-40860]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr28jy99-63]


[[Page 40859]]

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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION


Federal Family Education Loan Program

AGENCY: Department of Education.

ACTION: Notice to guaranty agencies of invitation to participate in
Voluntary Flexible Agreements.

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SUMMARY: The Secretary invites Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL)
guaranty agencies to submit an application to participate under a
Voluntary Flexible Agreement. This notice specifies the criteria that
the Secretary will use to select not more than six guaranty agencies
(initial guaranty agencies) that will be invited to negotiate a
Voluntary Flexible Agreement (VFA). Although the Higher Education Act
limits the Secretary to entering into not more than six VFAs, a
guaranty agency with which the Secretary has a VFA may provide the
benefits derived through that agreement to other guaranty agencies. The
Secretary encourages a guaranty agency submitting a VFA proposal to
identify, in its application, other guaranty agencies that may benefit
from the agreement. In addition, a guaranty agency is urged to consult
with schools and lenders that participate in its program in developing
its proposal.

DEADLINE FOR TRANSMITTAL OF APPLICATIONS: August 27, 1999.

ADDRESSES: All guaranty agencies are invited to apply. Applications may
be sent to: Mr. George Harris, U.S. Department of Education, 400
Maryland Avenue, SW., room 3045, ROB-3, Washington, DC 20202-5449. If
you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) you may call the
Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

On October 7, 1998, President Clinton signed the Higher Education
Amendments of 1998 (Pub. L. 105-244, referred to as the ``1998
Amendments''), which amended the Higher Education Act of 1965 (the
``HEA''). The 1998 Amendments added a new section 428A to the HEA,
authorizing the Secretary to enter into VFAs during fiscal years 1999,
2000, and 2001 with up to six guaranty agencies. Beginning in fiscal
year 2002, any guaranty agency or consortium thereof may enter into a
VFA with the Secretary.

Scope of the VFA

A VFA incorporates and modifies the guaranty agreements under
sections 428 (b) and (c) of the HEA, and is intended to enhance program
integrity, increase cost efficiencies, and improve the availability and
delivery of student financial aid. Each VFA will be developed by the
Secretary, in consultation with the agency, on a case-by-case basis,
and, in accordance with the HEA, may include provisions concerning--
<bullet> The issuance of insurance on FFEL loans;
<bullet> Monitoring FFEL insurance commitments;
<bullet> Default aversion activities;
<bullet> Review of default claims from lenders;
<bullet> Payment of default claims;
<bullet> Collection of defaulted loans;
<bullet> Adoption of internal systems of accounting and auditing,
and reporting the result thereof to the Secretary in a timely manner,
and on an accurate, and auditable basis;
<bullet> Timely and accurate collection and reporting of such other
data as the Secretary may require to carry out the purposes of the
Title IV programs;
<bullet> Monitoring schools and lenders participating in the FFEL
Program;
<bullet> Informational outreach to schools and students in support
of access to higher education; and
<bullet> Such other provisions as the Secretary may determine to be
necessary to protect the United States from the risk of unreasonable
loss and to promote the purposes of the FFEL Program.
It is not the intent of the Secretary to use VFAs to redistribute
market share among guaranty agencies or lenders. Accordingly, the
Secretary would have serious reservations about a proposal where a
redistribution of market share appears to be the primary goal.

Information To Be Included With the Application

An agency wishing to enter into a VFA with the Secretary should
submit a short (not to exceed 10 pages) written application that
describes the substance of the proposal and addresses the following
criteria:
<bullet> Transferability--Explain how the agency's proposed VFA
could be extrapolated and easily used by other FFEL participants.
<bullet> Customer/partner benefits--Explain how the proposal would
improve the ``system'' for delivery and servicing of loans for
borrowers and schools. What impact would it have on delinquencies and
defaults? Who would benefit from the proposal and how?
<bullet> New technology--Explain if and how the proposal uses new
technology.
<bullet> Efficiency--Explain the impact the proposal would have on
overall operating costs for the agency and its partners, including the
Department. Would the proposed VFA encourage standardization? How would
efficiency and customer satisfaction be measured?
<bullet> Inducements waiver--Include a description of any proposed
waiver of the prohibited inducement restrictions contained in section
428(b)(3) of the HEA.

Other Information That the Secretary Will Consider

Based upon an evaluation of the applications received, the
Secretary will select the initial guaranty agencies with which to
negotiate VFAs. Those negotiations will include:
<bullet> The fees the Secretary will pay, in lieu of revenues that
the agency may otherwise receive, and other funds that the agency may
receive or retain under the VFA.
<bullet> The use of net revenues for other activities in support of
postsecondary education.
<bullet> The standards by which the agency's performance of the
agency's responsibilities under the VFA will be assessed, and the
consequences for an agency's failure to achieve a specified level of
performance on one or more performance standards.
<bullet> The circumstances in which an agency's VFA may be ended in
advance of its expiration date.
<bullet> The involvement of other businesses, previously purchased
or developed with reserve funds, that relate to the FFEL Program, and
in which the Secretary permits the agency to engage.
<bullet> The uniform ability of lenders to participate in the
agency's program.
<bullet> The ability for borrowers to select a lender of their
choice, subject to the prohibitions and restrictions under the HEA.
<bullet> Other provisions that the Secretary may determine to be
necessary to protect the United States from the risk of unreasonable
loss and to promote the purposes of the FFEL Program.

Outline of Planned Evaluation and Selection Process

The following outline identifies the general sequence of activities
and projected target dates that will be followed by the Department in
negotiating agreements:
<bullet> By September 10, 1999: Evaluate proposals received in
response to this notice and invite promising candidates to make oral
presentations to a Department of Education evaluation panel. (Guaranty
agencies are encouraged to include school and lender representatives,
and other parties in support of their proposals). After the oral
presentations, up to six VFA

[[Page 40860]]

proposals will be selected for further development.
<bullet> September 10 to October 1, 1999: Negotiate tentative
agreements with the six initial agencies and publish the tentative
agreements on the Department's web site for two weeks.
<bullet> By November 1, 1999: Modify agreements as necessary to
reflect public comments and notify congressional committees of proposed
agreements.
<bullet> December 1, 1999: Sign agreements.
If the Secretary and an initial guaranty agency are unable to reach
agreement on the terms and conditions of a VFA, the Secretary may
select another guaranty agency with which to enter negotiations.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. George Harris at the address
listed in the ADDRESSES section of this notice. Telephone: (202) 708-
8242.
Individuals with disabilities may obtain this document in an
alternate format (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, or computer
diskette) on request to the contact person listed in the ADDRESSES
section of this notice.

Electronic Access to This Document

You may view this document in text or Adobe Portable Document
Format (PDF) on the Internet at the following sites:

http://ocfo.ed.gov/fedreg.htm
http://ifap.ed.gov/csb__html/fedlreg.htm

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Note: The official version of this document is the document
published in the Federal Register. Free Internet access to the
official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal
Regulations is available on GPO Access at: http://
www.access.gpo.gov/nara/index.html

(Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number 84.032 Federal Family
Education Loan Program)

List of Subjects in 34 CFR Part 682

Administrative practice and procedure, Colleges and universities,
Education, Loan programs--education, Reporting and recordkeeping
requirements, Student aid, Vocational education.

Dated: July 22, 1999.
Richard W. Riley,
Secretary of Education.
[FR Doc. 99-19116 Filed 7-27-99; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4000-01-P




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Last Modified: 07/27/1999