Posted Date: May 28, 2010

Foreign School Update ID: FS-2010-03

Author:  William Leith, Service Director, Program Management, Federal Student Aid

Subject: Foreign School Information Web Page Updates and Important Direct Loan Setup and Training Reminders

Throughout May 2010, we have communicated with foreign schools about enrollment in the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program and registration for Direct Loan training workshops. In this update, we announce the availability of new information on the Foreign School Information Web page and provide important reminders about Direct Loan setup and training workshops.

Foreign School Information Web Page

Earlier this month, we launched a Foreign School Information Web page that consolidates the U.S. Department of Education’s (the Department’s) guidance and information for foreign schools in one location. To date, the information posted on the Web page focused on Direct Loan setup and training.

At this time, we are pleased to announce the addition of other important information to the Foreign School Information Web page. Some information covers the basics that will be helpful to new foreign schools when they apply to become an eligible school. Other information will be helpful to currently eligible foreign schools as they transition to the Direct Loan Program.

The Foreign School Information Web page now includes the following informational areas:

  • Direct Loan Setup

  • Direct Loan Processing

  • Eligibility

  • SAIG and System Connectivity

  • Frequently Asked Questions

  • Handbooks and Guides

All areas are now populated with the exception of the SAIG and System Connectivity area, which will be available soon. The majority of participating foreign schools are already set up with Student Aid Internet Gateway (SAIG) mailboxes. As explained in the Direct Loan Setup area, our specialized Direct Loan enrollment team will assist schools that have questions about their SAIG mailboxes.

We encourage foreign schools to review the newly-posted information before attending our Direct Loan training workshops in June 2010. In particular, reviewing the high-level overviews in the Direct Loan Processing area will assist in orienting a school to how it will process Direct Loans before receiving the detailed information through the course of the training workshops.

Direct Loan Setup

Since we announced the availability of Direct Loan setup information in early May 2010, foreign schools have steadily submitted their Direct Loan enrollment packets to the Department. Upon receipt of a school’s enrollment packet, the school’s specialist (also referred to as Point of Contact) on our specialized Direct Loan enrollment team contacts and begins to assist the school.

At this time, our Direct Loan enrollment team specialists are also reaching out to foreign schools that have not yet submitted their Direct Loan enrollment packets. We are doing this to ensure that all schools have received our communications, accessed the Direct Loan enrollment packet instructions and materials in the Direct Loan Setup area on the Foreign School Information Web page, and developed a plan for packet submission. In addition to the instructions and materials in the Direct Loan Setup area, foreign schools should also refer to Foreign School Update FS-2010-02 in which we clarified certain pieces of Direct Loan setup information.

After reviewing the posted information and materials, a foreign school that has not yet completed and submitted its Direct Loan enrollment information will do so in two major steps.

  • Step One - Complete and submit a Direct Loan enrollment packet that includes two sets of the Participation Addendum signed by the school’s Chief Executive Officer (who signed the school’s current Program Participation Agreement or the school official currently in this position) and one set of the school’s COD System Access Request Letters.

    This step should be completed as soon as possible.

    Note: If the school plans to award and disburse Direct Loans in July 2010, it is critical that this step is completed immediately. In our earlier communications, we identified May 31, 2010 as the best-case target date. While we will accept Direct Loan enrollment packets beyond May 31st, we do need time to process the request before a school will have the necessary system accesses. Please do not delay if your school intends to award and disburse Direct Loans in July 2010.

  • Step Two - Initiate funding setup actions immediately, and plan to separately submit the required funding form and cover letter once all actions have been completed.

    This step should be completed as soon as possible after Step One.

Note: We understand that students from the United States who attend foreign schools must provide documentation of the estimated federal student loans they will receive when they submit their student visa applications. While dependent on each country’s requirements, a student may need documentation of his or her estimated Direct Loan funding before a foreign school begins processing Direct Loans via our systems/Web sites. Most schools will be able to handle such requests through their already established processes and procedures for determining estimated student eligibility as they did under the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program. However, if a school is unsure how to handle such a request, we ask that the school contact its Direct Loan enrollment team specialist (Point of Contact) or the team at as soon as possible for assistance.

Direct Loan Training Workshops

As explained in Training Announcement ANN-10-16, in June 2010, we will offer several free, instructor-led training workshops in various international locations. These extremely valuable and comprehensive workshops will introduce foreign schools to the Direct Loan Program and assist schools in administering the program and processing Direct Loans. The workshops will also cover institutional eligibility and participation, Title IV policies and procedures, and student eligibility. They are particularly important for foreign schools that are not familiar with the process for determining student eligibility.

We cannot emphasize enough how critical it is to participate in the Direct Loan training workshops. The workshops will begin very soon, and we encourage foreign schools that have not already done so to refer to Training Announcement ANN-10-16 for complete date, location, and registration information and register today. In addition to the training announcement, Foreign School Update FS-2010-02 clarified certain pieces of training workshop information.


1) The training workshop in London, England is filled to capacity. However, there are still seats available for the workshop in Birmingham, England. Our Direct Loan enrollment team specialists can provide train schedule and cost information for traveling between London and Birmingham to participants who must alternatively register for the Birmingham workshop.

2) As explained in Foreign School Update FS-2010-02, we continue to closely monitor volcanic ash impact on air travel to and from countries where we plan to hold workshops in June 2010. The following workshops are the ones that may be impacted:
  • Trinity College - Dublin, Ireland

  • John Cabot University - Rome, Italy

  • University of the Arts London, London College of Communication - London, England

  • University of Birmingham - Birmingham, England

Our contingency planning is underway, and we will communicate with registered participants and the community if it becomes necessary to adjust our plans. Please monitor e-mail and the Information for Financial Aid Professionals (IFAP) Web site.

Contact Information

If you have questions or need assistance after you read this update, the newly-posted Foreign School Information Web page information, or any of the referenced communications, e-mail your school’s Direct Loan enrollment team specialist (Point of Contact) at the address he or she provided. Alternatively, you may contact the team at This team will be your point of contact for getting any and all questions answered for you as expeditiously as possible.


End of Page