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ALEXANDRIA, Va.-NCUA Chairman Dennis Dollar has announced that NCUA is studying whether student credit unions with low-income designations are eligible to apply for technical assistance grants and loans from the Community Development Revolving Loan Fund and the board will entertain a related proposal. Dollar stated in a letter to Campus Credit Union Council Executive Director Gillian Coulter that the present regulatory exclusion of student-run credit unions on college campuses from eligibility for the TAG grants and CDRLF loans will be reviewed “to evaluate the possibility of a policy revision that would allow NCUA to provide grant and loan assistance where appropriate to help stem the unfortunate tide that is resulting in fewer student credit unions each year.” The exclusion has been in place in NCUA regulations since 1990. “When that exclusion was approved, there was considerably less CDRLF money available to be applied for and several hundred student credit unions that would have been made eligible for the limited funds,” Dollar explained. “This exclusion may have been short-sighted in that today the number of student credit unions by NCUA records is only seven, a number which might be larger had more needed assistance been made available.” Including seven low-income student-run credit unions in the eligibility pool should not be detrimental to other low-income credit unions applying for CDRLF loans or TAGs. However, the effect could be huge for the student credit unions needing assistance. “The difference a small CDRLF loan or TAG grant could make for a struggling student credit union facing the choice of merger or survival might be decisive,” wrote Dollar. In this year’s congressional appropriations, NCUA was provided $1 million for the grant program and $200,000 for CDRLF loans. The TAG funds must be handed out during the current fiscal year ending Sept. 30. The chairman warned that the final rule may not be approved in time for the FY 2004 funds, but that its crucial to get the rule right.

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