Private Loan Certifications Generally Not Affected by HEA Data Sharing Restrictions

By Karen McCarthy, NASFAA Policy & Federal Relations Staff

Information requested by most private lenders is not considered FAFSA data and is therefore not subject to the Higher Education Act’s data sharing restrictions.

With certain exceptions provided to scholarship-granting organizations and tribal organizations, section 483(a)(3)(E) of the Higher Education Act specifies that FAFSA data, which includes information related to expected family contributions (EFCs) and financial aid awards, “shall be used only for the application, award, and administration of aid awarded under federal student aid programs, state aid, or aid awarded by eligible institutions or such entities as the Department may designate.”

NASFAA has received confirmation from the Department of Education (ED) that cost of attendance, total estimated financial assistance, and an amount for certified loan eligibility are not considered FAFSA data and can, therefore, be disclosed to a private lender as allowed by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

However, estimated financial assistance disaggregated by aid program, with associated award amounts, would be considered FAFSA data and cannot be disclosed to a private lender under the HEA, even with the student’s written consent.

 

Publication Date: 4/6/2018


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