Proposals to Ensure the Availability of Federal Student Loans During an Economic Downturn: A Brief Overview of H.R. 5715 and S. 2815 [Updated May 29, 2008] [open pdf - 115KB]
From the Summary: "Federal student loans are made available under two major loan programs authorized under the Higher Education Act (HEA) of 1965, as amended: the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) program, authorized by Title IV, Part B, of the HEA; and the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (DL) program, authorized by Title IV, Part D, of the HEA. Under the FFEL program, private lenders make loans and the federal government guarantees lenders against loss due to borrower default, death, permanent disability, or, in limited instances, bankruptcy. Under the DL program, the federal government lends directly to students and their families, using federal capital (i.e., funds from the U.S. Treasury). The FFEL program is the successor program to the guaranteed student loan (GSL) program, originally enacted under Title IV, Part B, of the HEA. It is the older and larger of the two major federal student loan programs. Approximately four-fifths of non-Consolidation loans are made under the FFEL program, while approximately one-fifth are made under the DL program. […] Ultimately, the House and the Senate amended and passed H.R. 5715 to amend the HEA to address concerns about the availability of federal student loans. On May 6, 2008, the Ensuring Continued Access to Student Loans Act of 2008 was enacted as P.L. [Public Law] 110-227. This report examines amendments to the federal student loan programs made under P.L. 110-227. It will not be updated."
CRS Report for Congress, RL34452