SEQUESTER CHANGES AND OPERATIONAL GUIDANCE FOR DIRECT LOAN FEE CHANGE

The Budget Control Act of 2011 was signed into law by President Barrack Obama to stop the federal government from going into default during the debt-ceiling crisis of 2011. Since then, every October 1st when the federal government begins its fiscal year, automatic spending cuts are imposed on federal appropriations to ensure that spending doesn’t exceed certain thresholds. This is known as “sequestration” or “the sequester” and it’s how the government has been keeping the federal budget in check. In the financial aid office, the sequester requires changes to Direct Loan fees, as well as Iraq-Afghanistan Service Grants and TEACH Grants which I’ve summarized for you below.

Direct Loan Program
The terms of the sequester increase the loan fees charged to Direct Loan borrowers for Direct Subsidized/Direct Unsubsidized and Direct PLUS loans from their statutory rates of 1 percent and 4 percent, respectively.
For loans where the first disbursement is made on or after October 1, 2017 and before October 1, 2018 –
• The loan fee for Direct Subsidized Loans and for Direct Unsubsidized Loans is 1.066%. For example, the fee on a $5,500 loan will be $58.63.
• The loan fee for Direct PLUS Loans (for both parent borrowers and graduate and professional student borrowers) is 4.264%. For example, the fee on a $10,000 PLUS Loan will be $426.40.

Iraq-Afghanistan Service Grants
An Iraq-Afghanistan Service Grant where the first disbursement is on or after October 1, 2017 and before October 1, 2018 requires a reduction of 6.6 percent from the award amount for which the student would otherwise have been eligible.

TEACH Grants
A TEACH Grant where the first disbursement is on or after October 1, 2017 and before October 1, 2018 requires a reduction of 6.6 percent from the award amount for which the student would otherwise have been eligible.

For more information including operational guidance, check out the two relevant Electronic Announcements from ED here and here.