What is a Preferred Lender List? | 05.28.09
By definition a preferred lender list is a list of lenders that a college suggests its students consider when taking out federally guaranteed loans. Students who receive a “preferred lender” list from a school should remember that those lists are not legally binding. Borrowers can choose from any federally approved lender and may often find a better deal outside the list.
As some of you may recall a handful of lenders were sanctioned for deceptive loan practices a couple of years ago. Among other things, they were sharing a portion of their loan revenue with the school’s financial aid office, which is a clear code of conduct violation. These financial aid officers were guiding students toward loan products that would offer them kickbacks. Fortunately for students today these unethical practices have come to a halt.
Heavy fines were levied and the Sunshine Act was born. The Sunshine Act protects students and parents from exploitation by private lenders and lenders who offer gifts to colleges as a way to secure loan business.
Keep in mind it is not a violation for a school to have a preferred lender list provided they are not reaping financial gains. So it is up to you if you are enrolled at a FFELP school. You can thumb through the schools preferred list or travel outside that list in search of your own lender to service your Stafford loan and Parent Plus loan.
As G.I.Joe once said, “Now you know. And knowing is half the battle.”
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