Based in Washington, D.C., the National Council of Higher Education Resources (NCHER - pronounced N-Share) and formerly known as the National Council of Higher Education Loan Programs, Inc. (NCHELP) represents a nationwide network of guaranty agencies, secondary markets, lenders, loan servicers, collection agencies, postsecondary schools and other organizations involved in the administration of federal, state and private education loan programs. Since its founding in 1967, NCHER has represented its members on public policy and regulatory issues to the legislative and executive branches of the federal government. All voting members are state and nonprofit entities.
NCHER members promote student access and choice in the financing of postsecondary education and training. A key objective is to inform the public about the availability of low-cost loans as one financing method to assist families and students pay for their postsecondary education and training. During the past year, the total amount borrowed by students and families to pursue their education and training goals under all federal student loan programs exceeded $103 billion.
NCHER members remain committed to program integrity and improvement. Through the collective efforts of schools and members, more and more borrowers are repaying their loans on time. The recession has increased the need for these efforts, which have been expanded to provide comprehensive financial literacy education to students and to counsel delinquent borrowers on their repayment obligations and options to prevent default. While default aversion is the primary goal, once borrowers default every attempt is made to bring them back into repayment through a rehabilitation process to restore good standing, or to collect the outstanding debts on behalf of the U.S. Department of Education.
Over the past few decades as federal and state grant and scholarship programs have failed to keep pace with education and training costs, NCHER members have sought out alternative financing options at the state and school level.
As a result of recent legislation, students and families ceased to receive new student loans under the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) beginning July 1, 2010. All NCHER members will continue to provide student and borrower services during what will likely be a lengthy wind down period. In addition, many members will explore provisions in the law that enable them to service Federal Direct Student Loans and provide student, borrower and school services under this program.
There are a number of other active legislative initiatives that could impact private/alternative student loans through changes to bankruptcy and other related laws.
NCHER's Board of Directors, Staff and members continue to work to meet the challenges associated with providing financial assistance to millions of American students each year.