On March 30, 2010 President Obama signed a reconciliation bill that significantly reformed the processing of federal loans and grants for students. In light of this legislation, Columbia University transitioned to the Federal Direct Student Loan Program beginning with the 2010-2011 academic year.
Like the previous Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP), the Direct Loan Program provides federally insured loans to students and their families. Rather than working with private lenders who process and disburse federal loans, students and their families now receive federal loans directly from the U.S. Department of Education.
This change does not affect borrowers' eligibility, but the process is different. Students and parents who have existing loans through FFELP will continue to work with private lenders for these FFELP loans. All future loans will be issued through the Direct Loan Program.
Upon graduating, students may elect to consolidate their FFELP and Direct federal loans with the U.S. Department of Education.