Student Loan Regulations

How to make sense of federal student loan laws and regulations

As you shop for private (or alternative) loans to supplement the federally guaranteed loans you've been awarded for your studies, you can perhaps be more comforted in the knowledge that the federal government is aggressively regulating student loan lenders on your behalf.

The federal government has always required lenders to exercise the same responsibility, equal access and fairness it demands of every financial institution that lends money to the public. A variety of federal agencies, including the Department of Education, oversee the disbursement of federal student loan money.

But in recent years, in the wake of government investigations and news reports about allegedly too-close cooperation between some lenders and some colleges/universities, the federal government has elevated student loan regulation to an even higher priority.

For example:

  • Ensure that students have access to all lenders of their choice, including those not found on schools' preferred lender lists
  • Require lenders to fully and prominently disclose all terms, conditions and incentives of each loan
  • Ban lenders from staffing school financial aid offices
  • Protect students from aggressive marketing practices
  • Provide students information on all federal student aid opportunities through a new "one-stop" link on the Department of Education website

For more details on how federal laws and regulations govern student loans, talk to the financial aid office in the institution you're attending or considering attending. You can also visit the U.S. Department of Education's website, at

Additional student loan and college planning resources

What is the Difference Between Stafford and Perkins Student Loans?
When to File as an Independent Student
What Fees Are Associated with Federal and Private Loans?
What Can Private Student Loan Money Be Spent On?
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