What Are FFEL Loans?

FFEL loans are federally guaranteed student loans that were originally funded by private companies.

Cecilia ClarkOctober 19, 2020
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Key takeaways

  • FFEL loans are federally backed loans that were originally funded by private companies.

  • The FFEL Program ended in 2010, and some FFEL loans are now owned by the federal government.

  • Borrowers with FFEL loans may want to consolidate to take advantage of more student loan benefits.

The Federal Family Education Loan Program, or FFEL Program, provided student loans to borrowers until 2010. FFEL loans were issued by private lenders but guaranteed by the federal government.

Although the federal government has ended the FFEL Program, there are still 11.2 million borrowers with outstanding FFEL loans totaling over $248 billion according to the most recent data from the Education Department.

All federal student loans are now from the Direct Loan Program.

Are FFEL loans eligible for PSLF?

FFEL loans aren't eligible for:

To access these programs, you’ll have to consolidate FFEL loans into a federal direct loan. But consolidation comes with some trade-offs.

Consolidating FFEL loans into a direct loan will cause any unpaid interest to capitalize and increase your principal loan balance. Consolidation will also wipe out any progress you’ve made toward income-driven payment forgiveness.

Unconsolidated FFEL loans are eligible for:

How do I know if I have FFEL loans?

If you have federal student loans from 2010 or earlier, they are likely FFEL loans. Some outstanding FFEL loans are held by the federal government (called ED-held FFEL loans), but most are still privately owned by companies, like Navient.

Check studentaid.gov to find out what kind of student loan you have and whether it is owned by the federal government or a private company.

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