Direct Lending: What college-bound students can expect

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After high school seniors graduate this season, they and their parents will soon face another time-honored tradition —paying college tuition.

But the new crop of college-bound freshmen this summer will experience a much different federal student loan program than in years past.

The loan process will be streamlined. Students will have one choice of lender instead of dozens. More money will be available for grants for needy students, and more of them will be eligible for the free money. Even some parents may stand a better chance of qualifying for a federal loan to make up any tuition shortage.

And families likely will hear more pitches from banks and credit unions lenders offering alternatives to a federal loan as they look for other ways to stay in the game, aid experts predict.

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