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United Student Aid Funds or USA Funds is a nonprofit corporation that works to enhance postsecondary-education preparedness, access and success by providing and supporting financial and other valued services. USA Funds links colleges, universities, proprietary schools, private lenders, students and parents to promote financial access to higher learning.
Established by Richard Cornuelle in Indianapolis in 1960 to help families finance rising college costs, USA Funds has grown to become the nation's largest guarantor of loans made under the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP), the largest federal source of financial aid for higher education. During the past 44 years, the USA Funds guarantee has supported a total of nearly $115.5 billion in financial aid for higher education. USA Funds has served more than 13.6 million students and parents. SMS Hawaii, the nonprofit student-loan secondary market for Hawaii, is an affiliate of USA Funds. Another USA Funds affiliate, Northwest Education Loan Association, is a nonprofit guarantor that serves the Pacific Northwest. NELA is the designated guarantor for the states of Idaho and Washington. USA Funds guarantees education loans for students and parents throughout the nation. In addition, USA Funds serves as the designated guarantor of federal education loans in eight states: Arizona, Hawaii and the Pacific Islands, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Mississippi, Nevada and Wyoming.
USA Funds contracts with affiliates of Sallie Mae, the leading guarantor-servicing organization, to deliver some of the services necessary to support USA Funds’ guarantee.
Before July 31, 2000, USA Funds was an affiliate of USA Group. USA Funds contracted with other USA Group affiliates to these lenders contract with Sallie Mae for servicing and loan acquisition; others have no contractual relationships with Sallie Mae. Postsecondary institutions, their students, and parents are free to choose the lenders with which they wish to work while using the USA Funds guarantee.