Comment for 1026.46 - Special Disclosure Requirements for Private Education Loans
1. Coverage. This subpart applies to all private education loans as defined in § 1026.46(b)(5). Coverage under this subpart is optional for certain extensions of credit that do not meet the definition of “private education loan” because the credit is not extended, in whole or in part, for “postsecondary educational expenses” defined in § 1026.46(b)(3). If a transaction is not covered and a creditor opts to comply with any section of this subpart, the creditor must comply with all applicable sections of this subpart. If a transaction is not covered and a creditor opts not to comply with this subpart, the creditor must comply with all applicable requirements under §§ 1026.17 and 1026.18. Compliance with this subpart is optional for an extension of credit for expenses incurred after graduation from a law, medical, dental, veterinary, or other graduate school and related to relocation, study for a bar or other examination, participation in an internship or residency program, or similar purposes. However, if any part of such loan is used for postsecondary educational expenses as defined in § 1026.46(b)(3), then compliance with Subpart F is mandatory not optional.
46(b)(1) Covered Educational Institution
1. General. A covered educational institution includes any educational institution that meets the definition of an institution of higher education in § 1026.46(b)(2). An institution is also a covered educational institution if it otherwise meets the definition of an institution of higher education, except for its lack of accreditation. Such an institution may include, for example, a university or community college. It may also include an institution, whether accredited or unaccredited, offering instruction to prepare students for gainful employment in a recognized profession, such as flying, culinary arts, or dental assistance. A covered educational institution does not include elementary or secondary schools.
2. Agent. For purposes of § 1026.46(b)(1), the term agent means an institution-affiliated organization as defined by Section 151 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C 1019) or an officer or employee of an institution-affiliated organization. Under Section 151 of the Higher Education Act, an institution-affiliated organization means any organization that is directly or indirectly related to a covered institution and is engaged in the practice of recommending, promoting, or endorsing education loans for students attending the covered institution or the families of such students. An institution-affiliated organization may include an alumni organization, athletic organization, foundation, or social, academic, or professional organization, of a covered institution, but does not include any creditor with respect to any private education loan made by that creditor.
46(b)(2) Institution of Higher Education
1. General. An institution of higher education includes any institution that meets the definitions contained in sections 101 and 102 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1001-1002) and implementing Department of Education regulations (34 CFR 600). Such an institution may include, for example, a university or community college. It may also include an institution offering instruction to prepare students for gainful employment in a recognized profession, such as flying, culinary arts, or dental assistance. An institution of higher education does not include elementary or secondary schools.
46(b)(3) Postsecondary Educational Expenses
1. General. The examples listed in § 1026.46(b)(3) are illustrative only. The full list of postsecondary educational expenses is contained in section 472 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1087ll).
46(b)(4) Preferred Lender Arrangement
1. General. The term “preferred lender arrangement” is defined in section 151 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1019). The term refers to an arrangement or agreement between a creditor and a covered educational institution (or an institution-affiliated organization as defined by section 151 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C 1019)) under which a creditor provides private education loans to consumers for students attending the covered educational institution and the covered educational institution recommends, promotes, or endorses the private education loan products of the creditor. It does not include arrangements or agreements with respect to Federal Direct Stafford/Ford loans, or Federal PLUS loans made under the Federal PLUS auction pilot program.
46(b)(5) Private Education Loan
1. Extended expressly for postsecondary educational expenses. A private education loan is one that is extended expressly for postsecondary educational expenses. The term includes loans extended for postsecondary educational expenses incurred while a student is enrolled in a covered educational institution as well as loans extended to consolidate a consumer's pre-existing private education loans.
2. Multiple-purpose loans. i. Definition. A private education loan may include an extension of credit not excluded under § 1026.46(b)(5) that the consumer may use for multiple purposes including, but not limited to, postsecondary educational expenses. If the consumer expressly indicates that the proceeds of the loan will be used to pay for postsecondary educational expenses by indicating the loan's purpose on an application, the loan is a private education loan.
ii. Coverage. A creditor generally will not know before an application is received whether the consumer intends to use the loan for postsecondary educational expenses. For this reason, the creditor need not provide the disclosures required by § 1026.47(a) on or with the application or solicitation for a loan that may be used for multiple purposes. See § 1026.47(d)(1)(i). However, if the consumer expressly indicates that the proceeds of the loan will be used to pay for postsecondary educational expenses, the creditor must comply with §§ 1026.47(b) and (c) and § 1026.48. For purposes of the required disclosures, the creditor must calculate the disclosures based on the entire amount of the loan, even if only a part of the proceeds is intended for postsecondary educational expenses. The creditor may rely solely on a check-box, or a purpose line, on a loan application to determine whether or not the applicant intends to use loan proceeds for postsecondary educational expenses.
iii. Examples. The creditor must comply only if the extension of credit also meets the other parts of the definition of private education loan. For example, if the creditor uses a single application form for both open-end and closed-end credit, and the consumer applies for open-end credit to be used for postsecondary educational expenses, the extension of credit is not covered. Similarly, if the consumer indicates the extension of credit will be used for educational expenses that are not postsecondary educational expenses, such as elementary or secondary educational expenses, the extension of credit is not covered. These examples are only illustrative, not exhaustive.
3. Short-term loans. Some covered educational institutions offer loans to students with terms of 90 days or less to assist the student in paying for educational expenses, usually while the student waits for other funds to be disbursed. Under § 1026.46(b)(5)(iv)(A) such loans are not considered private education loans, even if interest is charged on the credit balance. (Because these loans charge interest, they are not covered by the exception under § 1026.46(b)(5)(iv)(B).) However, these loans are extensions of credit subject to the requirements of §§ 1026.17 and 18. The legal agreement may provide that repayment is required when the consumer or the educational institution receives certain funds. If, under the terms of the legal obligation, repayment of the loan is required when the certain funds are received by the consumer or the educational institution (such as by deposit into the consumer's or educational institution's account), the disclosures should be based on the creditor's estimate of the time the funds will be delivered.
4. Billing plans. Some covered educational institutions offer billing plans that permit a consumer to make payments in installments. Such plans are not considered private education loans, if an interest rate will not be applied to the credit balance and the term of the extension of credit is one year or less, even if the plan is payable in more than four installments. However, such plans may be extensions of credit subject to the requirements of §§ 1026.17 and 1026.18.
46(c) Form of Disclosures
1. Form of disclosures - relation to other sections. Creditors must make the disclosures required under this subpart in accordance with § 1026.46(c). Section 1026.46(c)(2) requires that the disclosures be grouped together and segregated from everything else. In complying with this requirement, creditors may follow the rules in § 1026.17, except where specifically provided otherwise. For example, although § 1026.17(b) requires creditors to provide only one set of disclosures before consummation of the transaction, §§ 1026.47(b) and (c) require that the creditor provide the disclosures under § 1026.18 both upon approval and after the consumer accepts the loan.
46(c)(3) Electronic Disclosures
1. Application and solicitation disclosures - electronic disclosures. If the disclosures required under § 1026.47(a) are provided electronically, they must be provided on or with the application or solicitation reply form. Electronic disclosures are deemed to be on or with an application or solicitation if they meet one of the following conditions:
i. They automatically appear on the screen when the application or solicitation reply form appears;
ii. They are located on the same Web “page” as the application or solicitation reply form without necessarily appearing on the initial screen, if the application or reply form contains a clear and conspicuous reference to the location of the disclosures and indicates that the disclosures contain rate, fee, and other cost information, as applicable; or
iii. They are posted on a Web site and the application or solicitation reply form is linked to the disclosures in a manner that prevents the consumer from by passing the disclosures before submitting the application or reply form.
46(d) Timing of Disclosures
1. Receipt of disclosures. Under § 1026.46(d)(4), if the creditor places the disclosures in the mail, the consumer is considered to have received them three business days after they are mailed. For purposes of § 1026.46(d)(4), “business day” means all calendar days except Sundays and the legal public holidays referred to in § 1026.2(a)(6). See comment 2(a)(6)-2. For example, if the creditor places the disclosures in the mail on Thursday, June 4, the disclosures are considered received on Monday, June 8.
46(d)(1) Application or Solicitation Disclosures
1. Invitations to apply. A creditor may contact a consumer who has not been pre-selected for a private education loan about taking out a loan (whether by direct mail, telephone, or other means) and invite the consumer to complete an application. Such a contact does not meet the definition of solicitation, nor is it covered by this subpart, unless the contact itself includes the following:
i. An application form in a direct mailing, electronic communication or a single application form as a “take-one” (in racks in public locations, for example);
ii. An oral application in a telephone contact; or
iii. An application in an in-person contact.
46(d)(2) Approval Disclosures
1. Timing. The creditor must provide the disclosures required by § 1026.47(b) at the time the creditor provides to the consumer any notice that the loan has been approved. However, nothing in this section prevents the creditor from communicating to the consumer that additional information is required from the consumer before approval may be granted. In such a case, a creditor is not required to provide the disclosures at that time. If the creditor communicates notice of approval to the consumer by mail, the disclosures must be mailed at the same time as the notice of approval. If the creditor communicates notice of approval by telephone, the creditor must place the disclosures in the mail within three business days of the telephone call. If the creditor communicates notice of approval in electronic form, the creditor may provide the disclosures in electronic form. If the creditor has complied with the consumer consent and other applicable provisions of the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (E-Sign Act) (15 U.S.C. 7001 et seq.) the creditor may provide the disclosures solely in electronic form; otherwise, the creditor must place the disclosures in the mail within three business days of the communication.
46(g) Effect of Subsequent Events
1. Approval disclosures. Inaccuracies in the disclosures required under § 1026.47(b) are not violations if attributable to events occurring after disclosures are made, although creditors are restricted under § 1026.48(c)(2) from making certain changes to the loan's rate or terms after the creditor provides an approval disclosure to a consumer. Since creditors are required provide the final disclosures under § 1026.47(c), they need not make new approval disclosures in response to an event that occurs after the creditor delivers the required approval disclosures, except as specified under § 1026.48(c)(4). For example, at the time the approval disclosures are provided, the creditor may not know the precise disbursement date of the loan funds and must provide estimated disclosures based on the best information reasonably available and labeled as an estimate. If, after the approval disclosures are provided, the creditor learns from the educational institution the precise disbursement date, new approval disclosures would not be required, unless specifically required under § 1026.48(c)(4) if other changes are made. Similarly, the creditor may not know the precise amounts of each loan to be consolidated in a consolidation loan transaction and information about the precise amounts would not require new approval disclosures, unless specifically required under § 1026.48(c)(4) if other changes are made.
2. Final disclosures. Inaccuracies in the disclosures required under § 1026.47(c) are not violations if attributable to events occurring after disclosures are made. For example, if the consumer initially chooses to defer payment of principal and interest while enrolled in a covered educational institution, but later chooses to make payments while enrolled, such a change does not make the original disclosures inaccurate.