SAVE FFELP – CONTACT THE CONFEREES!
Last week, grassroots activists organized to voice their objection to the proposed elimination of the Federal Family Education Loan program, or FFELP, calling and emailing their representatives in Congress to stress the value of a competitive, service-oriented student loan program. Virtual Hill Day saw the congressional switchboard light up as staffers took calls from constituents asserting that students and families should have their choice of loan providers and should also continue to receive the outreach and other personalized services provided by organizations like the Connecticut Student Loan Foundation.
From all accounts, this week will resemble the past month or so with much continued debate in Congress regarding student loans — including the start and perhaps completion of deliberations and passage of the 2010 budget. There has been increased activity to have this completed by sometime Wednesday — the 100th day of the Obama administration.
Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND) has been a vocal critic of a Budget Reconciliation process that goes beyond the designed purpose of reducing the deficit to address public policy that should be considered as part of “regular order” — through the regular deliberative process. There is clear support for the views expressed by students, families and schools in North Dakota as well as throughout the nation.
The number of contacts last week in support of the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) was impressive (conservative estimates say as many as 8,000 calls were made!) and much more is needed the early part of this week. There are a number of members of Congress, Governors, State boards of higher education, State Treasurers, and hundreds of financial aid professionals that have weighed in to support a program that has served them well since 1965.
There is a clear understanding that the status quo is not acceptable and that expanding the mandatory portion of the Pell Grant program is vital to the future of higher education. The proposals submitted by the College Board, NASFAA, Sallie Mae and others need to be considered. A series of other proposals are expected this week. There is no reason that the Congress can not establish a near-term deadline to consider higher education costs and financing.
The Senate passed Senator Lamar Alexander’s motion which instructs the Senate conferees to insist that the final conference report include the Senate position maintaining a competitive student loan program that provides students and institutions of higher education with a comprehensive choice of loan products and services, as contained in section 203 of S. Con. Res. 13, as passed by the Senate. Both the House and Senate conferees were announced this week, and we have listed their information below for you.
CSLF’s role expands far beyond the guaranty and delivery of student loans. While we remain focused and dedicated to our traditional responsibility of insuring federal student loans, our core functions have expanded to include: promoting college access for all students, preventing student loan defaults for all borrowers, providing training and support services to industry partners, distributing loan information and application materials to educate borrowers, supporting community outreach activities, and much more.
Just to offer one example of how FFEL agencies like the Connecticut Student Loan Foundation assist families locally, in an effort to ensure that families were able to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) prior to the state deadline of February 15th, staff dedicated the week of February 9th as its “Last Chance FAFSA Blitz.” While many consultants charge hefty fees for one-on-one assistance, CSLF continues to offer this vital service absolutely free of charge. More than eighty families visited the company’s resource center and received free one-on-one assistance with their financial aid forms. In addition, our Investing in Futures hotline has handled more than 200 calls, with staff assisting families with the financial aid questions. This blog and our associated web presences, posts and podcasts have helped families numbering in the thousands — all for free.
It’s clear that there is an incredibly valuable role for companies like the Connecticut Student Loan Foundation. For over 40 years, we’ve made service and assistance our mission. Our reach into under-served populations, potential first-generation college attendees and the schools without resources to promote higher education effectively without us, translates to dreams fulfilled, burdens lifted and potentials reached. HELP US TO KEEP DOING WHAT WE DO.
Please take the time to contact each member and share your story or your observations about the crucial role that the Federal Family Education Loan Program plays!
Tell the conferees that ELIMINATING FFEL MEANS ELIMINATING CHOICE AND SERVICES!
John M. Spratt, Jr. Ph: 202-225-5501 firstname.lastname@example.org
Allen Boyd Ph: 202-225-5235 email@example.com
Rosa DeLauro Ph: 202-225-3661 firstname.lastname@example.org
Paul Ryan Ph: 202-225-3031 email@example.com
Jeb Hensarling Ph: 202-225-3484 firstname.lastname@example.org
Kent Conrad Ph: 202-224-2043 email@example.com
Patty Murray Ph: 202-224-2621 firstname.lastname@example.org
Judd Gregg Ph: 202-224-3324 email@example.com