Announcement Regarding FSA loans
A Message Regarding F.S.A. Student Loans – for All Concerned
As we previously noted on our websites last year, The E.G.S. received notification, in the summer of 2021, that the U.S. Department of Education (D.O.E.) would not recertify our eligibility for participation in any F.S.A. student loan programs. We learned several weeks later that our appeal of this decision had not been accepted.
The reason provided for the decision was the determination by D.O.E. that The EGS does not qualify as an eligible “foreign institution.” The decision was made despite the fact that nothing – neither EGS’s circumstances nor F.S.A. regulations – had changed since our previous successful recertification with D.O.E. The explanation offered by D.O.E. is that the EGS degree programs are not recognized by the requisite governmental authorities in EGS’s principal site of operation. The D.O.E. understands Switzerland to be this principal site.
The issue raised by D.O.E. did not involve any concerns about funds or bookkeeping by The EGS, and EGS has successfully passed all of its annual audits. Specifically, the matter in question was a technicality regarding a category of eligibility for participating in any F.S.A. program.
In appealing the decision, The EGS forwarded a letter from Yves Rey, Head of Service, Department of the Economy and Education, Higher Education Service, Canton of Valais, Switzerland. Mr. Rey indicated clearly that the EGS degree programs are in fact recognized in the Canton of Valais, Switzerland. The Canton of Valais holds the requisite authority in this matter.
The D.O.E. did not accept the statement from Mr. Rey as sufficient for its requirements. Apparently, only degree programs licenced and accredited by the Swiss authorities are recognized by the D.O.E. (though the D.O.E. does not use this language) for schools operating principally within Switzerland. The EGS degree programs are licenced (as Mr. Rey recognizes) in Malta.
Those interested can consult the relevant official documentation with the following link.
What This Means
There are two primary repercussions of this determination by F.S.A.
- As of September 1, 2022, The EGS is no longer permitted to authorize F.S.A. loans for attending EGS.
We just went through an interim year (the award year 2021-22, which ran from September 1, 2021, to August 31, 2022) during which only students who had borrowed previously from F.S.A. were allowed one last annual loan. As of September 1, 2022, that award year was over, and no further loans can be authorized for anyone to attend The EGS.
- As of September 1, 2022, students enrolled at The EGS are no longer eligible for deferment of repayment of their past F.S.A. loans.
This is a circumstance we were not warned about previously, and we are learning about it only now. It turns out that F.S.A. regulations recognize only students at schools participating in F.S.A. loan programs as eligible for deferment of their loan repayments. (The one exception is for students at schools operated by the U.S. government, such as service academies.) EGS students with past F.S.A. loans who, due to their enrolment in EGS, have been exempt from loan repayment until now should expect to begin or to resume their repayments.
We wish to express to everyone receiving this letter our sincere regret that things have come to this pass. In an effort to avoid this situation, we worked on the matter for many months prior to the implementation of F.S.A.’s decision, and we believe that we met and demonstrated that we met all the pertinent requirements. (Particularly in that nothing has changed since our previous successful recertification with D.O.E.) Even so, F.S.A. sees things otherwise.
We are seeking ways to attain a new certification with F.S.A. and see possible paths forward. We are at work on the issue, but the task will require some time. In the meantime, we would like to extend to students who have been relying on F.S.A. loans the possibility of setting up a payment plan for their remaining tuition.
Please feel free to contact anyone in The EGS administration if you have questions or would like to discuss your personal circumstances. (For matters relating to the F.S.A., please address your questions to Mark Cohen.) We will do everything we can to help students complete their studies at The EGS.
We will keep you posted on any developments.
With sincere regards,
Chief Executive Officer of The EGS