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Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

e-CFR data is current as of May 28, 2020

Title 34Subtitle BChapter VIPart 685Subpart C → §685.300


Title 34: Education
PART 685—WILLIAM D. FORD FEDERAL DIRECT LOAN PROGRAM
Subpart C—Requirements, Standards, and Payments for Direct Loan Program Schools


§685.300   Agreements between an eligible school and the Secretary for participation in the Direct Loan Program.

Link to an amendment published at 84 FR 49933, Sept. 23, 2019.

(a) General. Participation of a school in the Direct Loan Program means that eligible students at the school may receive Direct Loans. To participate in the Direct Loan Program, a school must—

(1) Demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Secretary that the school meets the requirements for eligibility under the Act and applicable regulations; and

(2) Enter into a written program participation agreement with the Secretary.

(b) Program participation agreement. In the program participation agreement, the school must promise to comply with the Act and applicable regulations and must agree to—

(1) Identify eligible students who seek student financial assistance at the institution in accordance with section 484 of the Act;

(2) Estimate the need of each of these students as required by part F of the Act for an academic year. For purposes of estimating need, a Direct Unsubsidized Loan, a Direct PLUS Loan, or any loan obtained under any State-sponsored or private loan program may be used to offset the expected family contribution of the student for that year;

(3) Certify that the amount of the loan for any student under part D of the Act is not in excess of the annual limit applicable for that loan program and that the amount of the loan, in combination with previous loans received by the borrower, is not in excess of the aggregate limit for that loan program;

(4) Set forth a schedule for disbursement of the proceeds of the loan in installments, consistent with the requirements of section 428G of the Act;

(5) On a monthly basis, reconcile institutional records with Direct Loan funds received from the Secretary and Direct Loan disbursement records submitted to and accepted by the Secretary;

(6) Provide timely and accurate information to the Secretary for the servicing and collecting of loans—

(i) Concerning the status of student borrowers (and students on whose behalf parents borrow) while these students are in attendance at the school;

(ii) Upon request by the Secretary, concerning any new information of which the school becomes aware for these students (or their parents) after the student leaves the school; and

(iii) Concerning student eligibility and need, for the alternative origination of loans to eligible students and parents in accordance with part D of the Act;

(7) Provide assurances that the school will comply with requirements established by the Secretary relating to student loan information with respect to loans made under the Direct Loan Program;

(8) Provide that the school will accept responsibility and financial liability stemming from its failure to perform its functions pursuant to the agreement;

(9) Provide for the implementation of a quality assurance system, as established by the Secretary and developed in consultation with the school, to ensure that the school is complying with program requirements and meeting program objectives;

(10) Provide that the school will not charge any fees of any kind, however described, to student or parent borrowers for origination activities or the provision of any information necessary for a student or parent to receive a loan under part D of the Act or any benefits associated with such a loan; and

(11) Comply with the provisions of paragraphs (d) through (i) of this section regarding student claims and disputes.

(12) Comply with other provisions that the Secretary determines are necessary to protect the interests of the United States and to promote the purposes of part D of the Act.

(c) Origination. A school that originates loans in the Direct Loan Program must originate loans to eligible students and parents in accordance with part D of the Act. The note or evidence of the borrower's obligation on the loan originated by the school is the property of the Secretary.

(d) Borrower defense claims in an internal dispute process. The school will not compel any student to pursue a complaint based on a borrower defense claim through an internal dispute process before the student presents the complaint to an accrediting agency or government agency authorized to hear the complaint.

(e) Class action bans. (1) The school will not seek to rely in any way on a predispute arbitration agreement or on any other predispute agreement with a student who has obtained or benefited from a Direct Loan, with respect to any aspect of a class action that is related to a borrower defense claim, including to seek a stay or dismissal of particular claims or the entire action, unless and until the presiding court has ruled that the case may not proceed as a class action and, if that ruling may be subject to appellate review on an interlocutory basis, the time to seek such review has elapsed or the review has been resolved.

(2) Reliance on a predispute arbitration agreement, or on any other predispute agreement, with a student, with respect to any aspect of a class action includes, but is not limited to, any of the following:

(i) Seeking dismissal, deferral, or stay of any aspect of a class action.

(ii) Seeking to exclude a person or persons from a class in a class action.

(iii) Objecting to or seeking a protective order intended to avoid responding to discovery in a class action.

(iv) Filing a claim in arbitration against a student who has filed a claim on the same issue in a class action.

(v) Filing a claim in arbitration against a student who has filed a claim on the same issue in a class action after the trial court has denied a motion to certify the class but before an appellate court has ruled on an interlocutory appeal of that motion, if the time to seek such an appeal has not elapsed or the appeal has not been resolved.

(vi) Filing a claim in arbitration against a student who has filed a claim on the same issue in a class action after the trial court in that class action has granted a motion to dismiss the claim and, in doing so, the court noted that the consumer has leave to refile the claim on a class basis, if the time to refile the claim has not elapsed.

(3) Required provisions and notices:

(i) The school must include the following provision in any agreements with a student recipient of a Direct Loan for attendance at the school, or, with respect to a Parent PLUS Loan, a student for whom the PLUS loan was obtained, that include any agreement regarding predispute arbitration or any other predispute agreement addressing class actions and that are entered into after the effective date of this regulation: “We agree that neither we nor anyone else will use this agreement to stop you from being part of a class action lawsuit in court. You may file a class action lawsuit in court or you may be a member of a class action lawsuit even if you do not file it. This provision applies only to class action claims concerning our acts or omissions regarding the making of the Direct Loan or the provision by us of educational services for which the Direct Loan was obtained. We agree that only the court is to decide whether a claim asserted in the lawsuit is a claim regarding the making of the Federal Direct Loan or the provision of educational services for which the loan was obtained.”

(ii) When a predispute arbitration agreement or any other predispute agreement addressing class actions has been entered into before the effective date of this regulation and does not contain a provision described in paragraph (e)(3)(i) of this section, the school must either ensure the agreement is amended to contain the provision specified in paragraph (e)(3)(iii)(A) of this section or provide the student to whom the agreement applies with the written notice specified in paragraph (e)(3)(iii)(B) of this section.

(iii) The school must ensure the agreement described in paragraph (e)(3)(ii) of this section is amended to contain the provision specified in paragraph (e)(3)(iii)(A) of this section or must provide the notice specified in paragraph (e)(3)(iii)(B) of this section to students no later than the exit counseling required under §685.304(b), or the date on which the school files its initial response to a demand for arbitration or service of a complaint from a student who has not already been sent a notice or amendment.

(A) Agreement provision. “We agree that neither we nor anyone else who later becomes a party to this agreement will use it to stop you from being part of a class action lawsuit in court. You may file a class action lawsuit in court or you may be a member of a class action lawsuit in court even if you do not file it. This provision applies only to class action claims concerning our acts or omissions regarding the making of the Federal Direct Loan or the provision by us of educational services for which the Federal Direct Loan was obtained. We agree that only the court is to decide whether a claim asserted in the lawsuit is a claim regarding the making of the Federal Direct Loan or the provision of educational services for which the loan was obtained.”

(B) Notice provision. “We agree not to use any predispute agreement to stop you from being part of a class action lawsuit in court. You may file a class action lawsuit in court or you may be a member of a class action lawsuit even if you do not file it. This provision applies only to class action claims concerning our acts or omissions regarding the making of the Federal Direct Loan or the provision by us of educational services for which the Federal Direct Loan was obtained. We agree that only the court is to decide whether a claim asserted in the lawsuit is a claim regarding the making of the Federal Direct Loan or the provision of educational services for which the loan was obtained.”

(f) Predispute arbitration agreements. (1)(i) The school will not enter into a predispute agreement to arbitrate a borrower defense claim, or rely in any way on a predispute arbitration agreement with respect to any aspect of a borrower defense claim.

(ii) A student may enter into a voluntary post-dispute arbitration agreement with a school to arbitrate a borrower defense claim.

(2) Reliance on a predispute arbitration agreement with a student with respect to any aspect of a borrower defense claim includes, but is not limited to, any of the following:

(i) Seeking dismissal, deferral, or stay of any aspect of a judicial action filed by the student, including joinder with others in an action;

(ii) Objecting to or seeking a protective order intended to avoid responding to discovery in a judicial action filed by the student; and

(iii) Filing a claim in arbitration against a student who has filed a suit on the same claim.

(3) Required provisions and notices:

(i) The school must include the following provision in any predispute arbitration agreements with a student recipient of a Direct Loan for attendance at the school, or, with respect to a Parent PLUS Loan, a student for whom the PLUS loan was obtained, that include any agreement regarding arbitration and that are entered into after the effective date of this regulation: “We agree that neither we nor anyone else will use this agreement to stop you from bringing a lawsuit concerning our acts or omissions regarding the making of the Federal Direct Loan or the provision by us of educational services for which the Federal Direct Loan was obtained. You may file a lawsuit for such a claim or you may be a member of a class action lawsuit for such a claim even if you do not file it. This provision does not apply to lawsuits concerning other claims. We agree that only the court is to decide whether a claim asserted in the lawsuit is a claim regarding the making of the Federal Direct Loan or the provision of educational services for which the loan was obtained.”

(ii) When a predispute arbitration agreement has been entered into before the effective date of this regulation that did not contain the provision specified in paragraph (f)(3)(i) of this section, the school must either ensure the agreement is amended to contain the provision specified in paragraph (f)(3)(iii)(A) of this section or provide the student to whom the agreement applies with the written notice specified in paragraph (f)(3)(iii)(B) of this section.

(iii) The school must ensure the agreement described in paragraph (f)(3)(ii) of this section is amended to contain the provision specified in paragraph (f)(3)(iii)(A) of this section or must provide the notice specified in paragraph (f)(3)(iii)(B) of this section to students no later than the exit counseling required under §685.304(b), or the date on which the school files its initial response to a demand for arbitration or service of a complaint from a student who has not already been sent a notice or amendment.

(A) Agreement provision. “We agree that neither we nor anyone else who later becomes a party to this predispute arbitration agreement will use it to stop you from bringing a lawsuit concerning our acts or omissions regarding the making of the Federal Direct Loan or the provision by us of educational services for which the Federal Direct Loan was obtained. You may file a lawsuit for such a claim or you may be a member of a class action lawsuit for such a claim even if you do not file it. This provision does not apply to other claims. We agree that only the court is to decide whether a claim asserted in the lawsuit is a claim regarding the making of the Federal Direct Loan or the provision of educational services for which the loan was obtained.”

(B) Notice provision. “We agree not to use any predispute arbitration agreement to stop you from bringing a lawsuit concerning our acts or omissions regarding the making of the Federal Direct Loan or the provision by us of educational services for which the Federal Direct Loan was obtained. You may file a lawsuit regarding such a claim or you may be a member of a class action lawsuit regarding such a claim even if you do not file it. This provision does not apply to any other claims. We agree that only the court is to decide whether a claim asserted in the lawsuit is a claim regarding the making of the Direct Loan or the provision of educational services for which the loan was obtained.”

(g) Submission of arbitral records. (1) A school must submit a copy of the following records to the Secretary, in the form and manner specified by the Secretary, in connection with any claim filed in arbitration by or against the school concerning a borrower defense claim:

(i) The initial claim and any counterclaim.

(ii) The arbitration agreement filed with the arbitrator or arbitration administrator.

(iii) The judgment or award, if any, issued by the arbitrator or arbitration administrator.

(iv) If an arbitrator or arbitration administrator refuses to administer or dismisses a claim due to the school's failure to pay required filing or administrative fees, any communication the school receives from the arbitrator or arbitration administrator related to such a refusal.

(v) Any communication the school receives from an arbitrator or an arbitration administrator related to a determination that a predispute arbitration agreement regarding educational services provided by the school does not comply with the administrator's fairness principles, rules, or similar requirements, if such a determination occurs.

(2) A school must submit any record required pursuant to paragraph (g)(1) of this section within 60 days of filing by the school of any such record with the arbitrator or arbitration administrator and within 60 days of receipt by the school of any such record filed or sent by someone other than the school, such as the arbitrator, the arbitration administrator, or the student.

(h) Submission of judicial records. (1) A school must submit a copy of the following records to the Secretary, in the form and manner specified by the Secretary, in connection with any claim concerning a borrower defense claim filed in a lawsuit by the school against the student or by any party, including a government agency, against the school:

(i) The complaint and any counterclaim.

(ii) Any dispositive motion filed by a party to the suit; and

(iii) The ruling on any dispositive motion and the judgment issued by the court.

(2) A school must submit any record required pursuant to paragraph (h)(1) of this section within 30 days of filing or receipt, as applicable, of the complaint, answer, or dispositive motion, and within 30 days of receipt of any ruling on a dispositive motion or a final judgment.

(i) Definitions. For the purposes of paragraphs (d) through (h) of this section, the term—

(1) “Borrower defense claim” means a claim that is or could be asserted as a borrower defense as defined in §685.222(a)(5), including a claim other than one based on §685.222(c) or (d) that may be asserted under §685.222(b) if reduced to judgment;

(2) “Class action” means a lawsuit in which one or more parties seek class treatment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 or any State process analogous to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23;

(3) “Dispositive motion” means a motion asking for a court order that entirely disposes of one or more claims in favor of the party who files the motion without need for further court proceedings;

(4) “Predispute arbitration agreement” means any agreement, regardless of its form or structure, between a school or a party acting on behalf of a school and a student providing for arbitration of any future dispute between the parties.

(Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1087a et seq., 1094)

[59 FR 61690, Dec. 1, 1994, as amended at 64 FR 58970, Nov. 1, 1999; 71 FR 64400, Nov. 1, 2006; 78 FR 65838, Nov. 1, 2013; 81 FR 76087, Nov. 1, 2016; 83 FR 34048, July 19, 2018]

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