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Guarantee Agency Caucus
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Purpose
The purpose of NCHER’s Guaranty Agency Caucus is to promote and give active support to all state and nonprofit agencies that currently have, or have previously had, agreements with the Secretary of Education under section 428(b) and (c) of the Higher Education Act, and provide a forum to facilitate the exchange of information, ideas, policies, and procedures impacting current and former guaranty agencies. The Caucus’ mission is aligned with NCHER’s mission to enhance member organizations’ abilities to help families and students develop, pay for, and attain their educational goals so they can pursue meaningful and rewarding work and become contributing members of society.

Membership

The Caucus’ membership includes those NCHER members who are in good standing; who are state and nonprofit guaranty agencies designated by the Secretary of Education under section 428(b) and (c) of the Higher Education Act; and/or former guarantors who remain involved in activities, including philanthropic efforts, devoted to enhancing access and completion of postsecondary education.

Leadership
The Caucus is led by a chair who should, when present, preside at all meetings of the membership. The chair is elected by the Caucus’ members for a two-year term. The Caucus may designate a co-chair to assist in carrying out the duties specified in this document.

Meetings and Communications

The Caucus holds regular meetings via conference calls and has an active email list-serve for the exchange of information among its membership. The Caucus may hold other meetings at a time and place to be designated by the chair.

Committees/Working Groups

The Caucus may, with the concurrence of the membership, create committees or working groups: (1) to assist it in carrying out the duties specified in this document or (2) that are deemed to be in the best interest of the membership. One such committee could include the Guaranty Agency Chief Financial Officer Committee.

Charge
The Caucus:

  • Assists NCHER, including its advocacy staff, in identifying items of interest to its membership at the federal level and building consensus on policy positions that can be promoted with Members of Congress and the Administration. Such efforts include, but are not limited to, assisting the NCHER Government Relations Committee in the development of proactive legislative priorities of importance to the Caucus membership and advocating for NCHER’s priorities before the U.S. House, U.S. Senate, White House, and federal agencies.

  • Assists NCHER, including the NCHER Government Relations Committee, in monitoring and responding, in support or opposition, to provisions included in House and Senate legislation that impacts the membership.

  • Assists NCHER, including its communications staff, in the development of “one-pagers” highlighting the important work that the nation’s guaranty agencies provide to students, borrowers, families, and communities, and proactively highlighting positive stories and quickly responding to complaints raised by student and consumer advocates on the treatment of borrowers and how the membership services and collects on student loans.

  • Assists NCHER in educating members of the U.S. House and U.S. Senate, including new and returning members, and Administration officials on the important role that guarantors and other sectors of the NCHER membership play in helping families and students develop, pay for, and attain their educational goals so they can pursue meaningful and rewarding work and become contributing members of society.

  • Helps support members’ efforts to provide personalized financial education, debt management, and default prevention services to students and families, and assist institutions in default management, aversion, and prevention.

  • Works with NCHER’s Ombudsman Caucus, College Access and Success Committee, Debt Management and Borrower Support Committee, and Program Regulations and Policy Committee to advocate for priorities that are in the best interests of the respective caucus, committee, and working group memberships.

Advocacy Priorities
The Caucus’ current priorities include, but are not limited to:

  • Developing proposals that support the orderly wind-down/transition of the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP), including authorizing the payment of Account Maintenance Fees, providing just-in-time reinsurance payments, removing the 45 percent cap on Federal Direct Consolidation Loans, and developing a process for those agencies interested in relinquishing their FFELP portfolios and the criteria and process the Department of Education will use when selecting successor agencies.

  • Resisting proposals that would interfere with the orderly wind-down/transition by unnecessarily accelerating the consolidation/transfer of FFELP loans into the Direct Loan Program and the assignment of defaulted loans to the Department of Education.

  • Securing funding to provide personalized financial education, debt management, and default prevention services to students and families, assisting institutions in default management, aversion, and prevention, strengthening existing entrance and exit counseling requirements, and promoting the use of 529 Plans.

  • Simplifying and streamlining the myriad of repayment plans available to student and parent borrowers, improving and automating the annual recertification process for borrowers participating in income-driven repayment plans, dramatically reducing the number of questions on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, and providing authority to financial aid administrators to lower annual and aggregate student loan limits.

  • Pushing the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to carry out the provisions included in the Bipartisan Budget Act amending the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) to allow for the use of new technologies when contacting delinquent and defaulted borrowers.

  • Supporting a robust rehabilitation loan program to assist student and parent borrowers in rehabilitating or consolidating their defaulted federal and private student loans, including allowing defaulted borrowers to rehabilitate their loans more than once should they continue to struggle to repay their student loans and allowing access to the National Directory of New Hires and the National Student Loan Data System so guaranty agencies can locate struggling borrowers to provide counseling on repayment options and offer the opportunity to rehabilitate defaulted loans.

  • Monitoring and responding to the regulatory efforts of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), including anticipated proposed rules governing debt collection practices for federal student loans.

  • Requiring federal agencies to use Fair-Value Accounting when measuring the true costs of federal credit programs, and enhancing the role of private capital and local expertise in financing the cost of college and administering education loans.

  • Ensuring that FFELP and Federal Direct Loan borrowers are treated equally in all program- or servicing-related aspects, including administrative changes to the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA).
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