Public Comment Needed by 8/12/22

Student Assistance General Provisions, Federal Perkins Loan Program, Federal Family Education Loan Program, and William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program


This notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) covers student loans and affordability issues. This rulemaking specifically discusses issues involving loans under the William D. Ford Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program, the Federal Perkins Loan (Perkins) Program, and the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program. The Secretary proposes to amend the regulations governing seven topics related to student loans administered by the U.S. Department of Education. First, we propose to amend the regulations governing the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program to establish a new Federal standard and process for determining whether a borrower has a defense to repayment on a loan. We also propose to prohibit the use of certain contractual provisions regarding dispute resolution processes by participating institutions, and to require certain notifications and disclosures by institutions regarding their use of arbitration. Additionally, we propose to amend the Perkins, Direct Loan, and FFEL Program regulations to improve the process for granting total and permanent disability (TPD) discharges by eliminating the income monitoring period and expanding allowable documentation allowing additional health care professionals to provide a certification that a borrower is totally and permanently disabled. We further propose to amend the closed school discharge provisions in the Perkins Loan, Direct Loan, and FFEL programs to expand borrower eligibility for automatic discharges and eliminate provisions pertaining to reenrollment in a comparable program. We further propose to amend the Direct Loan and FFEL regulations to streamline the regulations governing false certification discharges. We propose to amend the Direct Loan regulations to eliminate interest capitalization in instances where it is not required by statute. Finally, we propose to amend regulations governing Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) in the Direct Loan program to improve the application process, and to clarify and expand definitions for full-time employment, qualifying employers, and qualifying monthly payments. The proposed changes would bring greater transparency and clarity and improve the administration of Federal student financial aid programs to assist and protect students, participating institutions, and taxpayers.