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(FS-2010-04) Subject: Sample Communications to Support Direct Loan Processing and Important Related Information

Posted Date:June 3, 2010

Foreign School Update ID: FS-2010-04

Author: William Leith, Service Director, Program Management, Federal Student Aid

Subject: Sample Communications to Support Direct Loan Processing and Important Related Information

We are continuing our preparations for foreign school participation in the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program. In addition to working individually with schools as they enroll in the Direct Loan Program, we recently posted additional information on the Foreign School Information Web page and provided important reminders about the Direct Loan training workshops that begin the week of June 7, 2010 (see Foreign School Updates FS-2010-01, FS-2010-02, and FS-2010-03).

Last week, we made available high-level overviews about Direct Loan Processing and encouraged foreign schools to review these overviews before attending the training workshops. In this update, we announce the availability of sample communications that support Direct Loan processing on the Foreign School Information Web page and provide related information about student visa documentation and the availability of eligible foreign school information on the StudentLoans.gov Web site.

Sample Communications to Support Direct Loan Processing

To assist foreign schools in developing communications about the transition to the Direct Loan Program, we have developed sample text for key communications. The sample text has been written as generally as possible to cover the widest range of school and borrower needs. In some cases, the school may need to modify the sample text to reflect its processes and procedures. We have identified such text through instructions within the sample text labeled "Usage Notes for Schools."

The samples are as follows:

  • Sample Estimated Direct Loan Information Letter for Student Visa Applications

    This text provides documentation of a student’s estimated Direct Loan funding for submission with the student’s visa application. Depending on each country’s student visa requirements, the text may need to be modified to ensure that all required information is included.

  • Sample Direct Loan Begin Notice for Direct Subsidized Loan and Direct Unsubsidized Loan Borrowers

    This text provides a detailed overview of the Direct Loan Program and what may be required of an undergraduate or graduate/professional student to obtain a Direct Subsidized Loan and/or a Direct Unsubsidized Loan. The text that explains Direct Loan Entrance Counseling completion may need to be modified to reflect a school’s processes and procedures.

  • Sample Direct Loan Begin Notice for Direct PLUS Loan Borrowers

    This text provides a detailed overview of the Direct Loan Program and what may be required of a graduate/professional student or parent to obtain a Direct PLUS Loan. The text that explains Direct PLUS Loan Request and Credit Check completion and the text that explains Direct Loan Entrance Counseling completion may need to be modified to reflect a school’s processes and procedures.

We have posted the sample communications on the right side of the Foreign School Information Web page under the section titled "Sample Communications." The samples are posted in Microsoft Word format in the order presented above, but we shortened the name for each file’s link to fit within the space.

Student Visa Application Documentation

As communicated in Foreign School Update FS-2010-03, we understand that students from the U.S. who attend foreign schools must provide documentation of the estimated federal student loans they will receive when they submit their student visa applications. While dependent on each country’s requirements, a student may need documentation of his or her estimated Direct Loan funding before a foreign school begins processing Direct Loans via our systems/Web sites.

Most schools will be able to handle visa documentation requests through their already established processes and procedures for determining estimated student eligibility as they did under the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program. In addition, we have developed the sample letter that schools may use and adapt per their country’s student visa requirements.

If a school is unsure how to handle a visa documentation request, we ask that the school contact its Direct Loan enrollment team specialist (Point of Contact) or the team at foreignschooldlenrollment_fsa@ed.gov as soon as possible for assistance.

Availability of Eligible Foreign School Information on StudentLoans.gov Web Site

The sample Direct Loan Begin notices include detailed step-by-step information for what a student or parent borrower may need to do or complete to receive a Direct Loan. In short, these requirements include Direct Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN) completion, entrance counseling completion, and, for Direct PLUS Loans, Direct PLUS Loan request and credit check completion.

With very rare exception, all students and parents will complete the Direct Loan MPN electronically via the StudentLoans.gov Web site. For those who must complete entrance counseling and/or the Direct PLUS Loan request and credit check, we also offer options to complete these requirements electronically via the StudentLoans.gov Web site. However, a school may choose to have its students and parent complete the entrance counseling and PLUS requirements by other means.

When a student or parent completes the Direct Loan MPN, entrance counseling, and/or Direct PLUS Loan request and credit check, as applicable, via the StudentLoans.gov Web site, he or she will need to identify the foreign school the student will attend. For this reason, before a foreign school directs students and parents to the Web site, it must ensure that it has been added to the school selection dropdown list that is part of each component area of the Web site.

On June 13, 2010, we plan to update the dropdown list for foreign schools on the StudentLoans.gov Web site. This list will include all foreign schools that have submitted their Direct Loan enrollment packets and have been approved to participate in the Direct Loan Program. Students and parents will access this dropdown list by selecting a radio button that references non-U.S. schools.

To ensure that everything is in place for students and parents before directing them to the StudentLoans.gov Web site, each school should confirm with its Direct Loan enrollment team specialist (Point of Contact) that all necessary processing has been completed and it is listed in the dropdown list on the Web site.

Contact Information

If you have questions or need assistance after you read this update, the newly-posted sample communications, or any of the referenced communications, e-mail your school’s Direct Loan enrollment team specialist (Point of Contact) at the address he or she provided. Alternatively, you may contact the team at foreignschooldlenrollment_fsa@ed.gov. This team will be your point of contact for getting any and all questions answered for you as expeditiously as possible.

Last Modified: 06/02/2010