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The National Council of Higher Education Resources (NCHER) is the nation’s oldest and largest higher education finance trade association. NCHER’s membership includes state, nonprofit, and for-profit higher education service organizations, including lenders, servicers, guaranty agencies, collection agencies, financial literacy providers, and schools, interested and involved in increasing college access and success. It assists its members in shaping policies governing federal and private student loan and state grant programs on behalf of students, parents, borrowers, and families.

NCHER represents its members on public policy initiatives within the legislative and executive branches of the federal government, and brings together the higher education community to strengthen all federal and private student loan and state grant programs through its ongoing involvement with Congress, the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Treasury, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Federal Communications Commission, and other federal agencies, associations, and organizations engaged in student financing and policy.

From the organization’s founding in 1967 to 2010, NCHER’s members predominately included lenders, servicers, guaranty agencies, and collection agencies responsible for administering the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP). Through its ongoing activities, NCHER supported the FFELP community by sharing best practices in the servicing of federal loans and designing and updating the Common Manual that set uniform standards for the industry. With passage of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, which eliminated new FFELP originations, NCHER’s members now also include:

  • Servicers and collection agencies with contracts with the U.S. Department of Education to service and recover loans made under the Federal Direct Loan Program;

  • Lenders that provide private or alternative loans to student and parent borrowers;

  • Third-party service providers that assist colleges and universities and their students in the proper management of student loan debt and assist student and parent borrowers stay out delinquency and default; and

  • State grant agencies focused on improving pre-college, in-school, and post-college financial literacy and promoting college access and success.

Through its ongoing activities, NCHER now also supports the sharing of best practices across all federal and private student loan programs.

The organization’s mission, revised in 2014, is to enhance its 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. The mission covers a broad range of postsecondary education service opportunities and reflects the fact that the work and interests of the membership do not end when a student or borrower enrolls in postsecondary education. The members care whether the individual has attained his or her educational goals, not just whether he or she simply accessed a degree program. The membership cares whether or not completing this education helped the individual pursue meaningful and rewarding work and becoming a contributing member of society, not just whether he or she is simply paying taxes. The mission statement supports and joins the national discussion around student outcomes, career development, civic engagement, lifelong learning, and social impact. Similar to the new millennial generation that we mainly serve, NCHER wants its mission and work to make a difference.

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