AFTER YEARS of neglecting its congressionally mandated responsibility, the US Department of Education is putting the final touches on new regulations for determining which foreign medical schools are eligible to participate in the Federal Family Educational Loan (FFEL) program.
However, these final touches may touch off angry protests as well as lawsuits if they accomplish what Congress has mandated in the Higher Education Act Amendment of 1992—to deny federally insured loans to students attending foreign medical schools that fail to meet the same standards US and Canadian schools must meet.
Many of these "offshore" schools, which primarily enroll US citizens, depend heavily on tuition paid with FFEL program loans. These loans are the only federal educational assistance funds available to Americans studying abroad. At least some of these for-profit, offshore schools may not stay open if eligibility for the loan program is denied.
To satisfy the new regulations, substandard schools