ERIC Number: ED483240
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Mar-17
Student Loan Programs: Lower Interest Rates and Higher Loan Volume Have Increased Federal Consolidation Loan Costs. Testimony before the Committee on Education and the Workforce, House of Representatives. GAO-04-568T
US General Accounting Office
This statement focuses on issues related to consolidation loans and their cost implications for taxpayers and borrowers. Consolidation loans, available under the Department of Education?s (Education's) two major student loan programs?the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) and the William D. Ford Direct Loan Program (FDLP)?help borrowers manage their student loan debts. By combining multiple loans into one loan and extending the repayment period, a consolidation loan reduces monthly repayments, which may lower default risk and, thereby, reduce federal costs of loan defaults. This testimony focuses on the following: (1) recent changes in interest rates and consolidation loan volume, and (2) how these changes have affected federal costs for FFELP and FDLP consolidation loans. Comments are based on findings from an October 2003 report entitled ?Student Loan Programs: As Federal Costs of Loan Consolidation Rise, Other Options Should be Examined? (GAO-04-101). Those findings were based on review and analysis of data from officials from Education?s Office of Federal Student Aid and Budget Service and representatives of FFELP lenders; a sample of student loan data extracted from Education?s National Student Loan Data System; relevant cost analyses prepared by Education; and statutory, regulatory, and other published information. For this testimony, numbers were updated to reflect recent estimates by the Department of Education. Overall, recent years have seen a drop in interest rates for student loan borrowers along with dramatic overall growth in consolidation loan volume (due in part to declining interest rates that have made it attractive for many borrowers to consolidate their variable rate student loans at a low, fixed rate). Recent trends in interest rates and consolidation loan volume have affected the cost of the FFELP and FDLP consolidation loan programs in different ways, but in the aggregate, estimated subsidy and administration costs hav
Descriptors: Student Loan Programs, Loan Repayment, Federal Programs, Administration, Credit (Finance), Costs, Debt (Financial)
U.S. Government Accountability Office, 441 G Street NW, Room LM, Washington, DC 20548. Tel: 202-512-6000; TDD: 202-512-2537; Fax: 202-512-6061.
Publication Type: Legal/Legislative/Regulatory Materials; Numerical/Quantitative Data; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: General Accounting Office, Washington, DC.