VSAC Says Program’s Future Uncertain

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(Host) Colleges will be notifying incoming students about financial aid in the next few weeks, but Congress has not settled a debate about student loans.

Officials say that could place the future of the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation and its clients in jeopardy.

The existing financial aid law expires soon and a replacement that Congress has been considering has gotten caught up in political debates.

VSAC president Don Vickers says the indecision could mean most students will use the "direct loan" program administered by the federal government.

(Vickers) "We’re running out of time very quickly. A lot of colleges will be sending out their award letters to students at the first part of February. And in that award level, they have to tell the student what loan sources are available to them. And if they can’t tell them that a loan source is available to VSAC, they’re going to have to force those students to go into the direct loan program, which means they won’t have a choice.

(Host) VSAC says it provides more services to students and their families than by what they get through direct lending by the federal government.

But the Obama administration wants to make college loans the exclusive responsibility of the federal government.

Vickers says that could mean the end of agencies like his and the financial counseling they provide. He’s working with Vermont’s congressional delegation to make an exception for nonprofit agencies like VSAC.

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