An Ed-owned student loan is a federal student loan that the Department of Education owns. The department owns most, but not all, federal student loans. Some federal loans are owned by schools (Perkins Loans), and others are owned by state-backed lenders known as guaranty agencies (Federal Family Education Loans).
Congress ended the Perkins and FFEL Program by the mid-2010s. From Oct 1., 2017, until now, all federal student loans have been made through the Direct Loan Program. The department owns all of those loans.
Here’s where things get complicated.
Although borrowers no longer have a choice in the type of federal loan they can borrow, there are still millions of people with FFEL and Perkins Loans. The department bought some of those loans from schools and guarantee agencies after borrowers fell behind on their monthly payments and defaulted. But many FFEL and Perkins Loans are still owned by schools and guaranty agencies.
Related: Are Navient Loans Owned by Ed?
Before the pandemic, those loans weren’t eligible for the more affordable student loan repayment options the government created because they were owned by third parties — not the Education Department.
Likewise, commercially-held Perkins and FFELP Loans weren’t eligible for the payment pause or the PSLF Waiver. And, following an abrupt change to the eligibility guidelines, those loans aren’t eligible for Biden’s student debt relief plan.
Related: Do FFEL Loans Qualify for PSLF?