|New Disaster Areas in Minnesota and
Liberalized Policies for Parts of North Dakota
LOUISIANA STUDENT FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE COMMISSION
|Lenders and Schools|
|May 14, 1997|
|New Disaster Areas in Minnesota and Liberalized Policies for Parts of North Dakota|
To assure that your Common Manual remains current, please record this document on your LPM/LPB Index, and retain it in Appendix E of your manual.
New Disaster Area Designations in Minnesota
LOSFAs LPB of April 14, 1997 notified you of the 21 counties in Minnesota that the President had declared to be disaster areas because of severe flooding that generally began in those areas on or about March 21. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recently has declared an additional 26 counties in
Minnesota to be disaster areas because of this severe flooding. The following list of counties reflects the information obtained from FEMA as of the date of this letter, with the newly added counties in all capitalized format:
AITKIN, ANOKA, BECKER, Benton, Big Stone, BLUE EARTH, Brown, CARVER, Chippewa, Clay, DAKOTA, GOODHUE, GRANT, HENNEPIN, HOUSTON, KANDIYOHI, Kittson, Lac Qui Parle, LAKE OF THE WOODS, LE SUEUR, LINCOLN, MAHNOMEN, Marshall, MORRISON, NICOLLET, Norman, Pennington, Polk, RAMSEY, Red Lake, REDWOOD, RENVILLE, Roseau, SCOTT, Sherburne, SIBLEY, ST. LOUIS, Stearns, STEVENS, Swift, Traverse, WABASHA, Washington, Wilkin, WINONA, Wright, and Yellow Medicine.
Liberalized Forbearance and other Policy for Parts of North Dakota
To provide additional assistance to borrowers in North Dakota during the immediate situation, the U.S. Department of Education has modified its disaster forbearance policy by allowing loan holders to grant an administrative forbearance to certain borrowers in North Dakota without the requirement that the borrower contact the loan holder to request the forbearance. The Department is taking that action because the severity and extent of the flooding in North Dakota warrants that modification. The modified forbearance policy applies to the areas in North Dakota in which the U.S. Postal Service has been unable to pick up or deliver mail.
Student Loans of North Dakota advises that the following counties in North Dakota are areas in which the U.S. Post Office has been unable to maintain normal postal service:
CASS, GRAND FORKS, PEMBINA, RICHLAND, TRAILL, and WALSH.
Loan Holders may administratively grant a 3-month forbearance to borrowers who reside in those counties, retroactive to February 28, without an actual request from the borrower. After the 3-month disaster forbearance period has elapsed and normal delivery of mail resumes, the Department encourages loan holders to grant discretionary forbearances under 34 CFR 682.211(c) to those borrowers who still need assistance.
The Department has also advised Student Loans of North Dakota that it will permit a lender's late disbursement of loans past the 90-day deadline in 34 CFR 682.207(d)(2), and that it would not enforce the time periods that apply to a school's delivery of loan proceeds to borrowers. The Department has taken these actions because many borrowers have been unable to remain in school because of the flooding, or, in some cases, schools have had to suspend operations. The Department will also permit schools to reschedule exit
counseling at a more appropriate date or, if feasible, to mail exit counseling materials to borrowers.
General Disaster Area Guidance
Borrower-initiated 90-day forbearances under the earlier released guidelines may be used retroactively. Lenders and guaranty agencies may also grant a borrower-initiated 90-day forbearance on or after the date of this letter if the lender or guarantor believes the borrower needs one. We will notify you if additional areas in Minnesota or other states are designated by the President or FEMA. Questions and concerns may be addressed to the Department's toll-free number at 1-800-433-7327, Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST.