What is the Common Manual?
The Common Manual (CM) provides FFELP policy guidance and is produced through the cooperative effort of the guarantors who participate in the FFEL program. Annual update proposals are prepared by the Policy Department and Maintenance Contractor, Ascendium, and approved by the Common Manual Governing Board. The 2021 Annual Update is available as a PDF and may be downloaded or printed from the CM website. Previous versions back to 1998 are available in the Common Manual Update Archives.


The Common Manual Website also features CM Training Briefs, archives, news and other tools. If you regularly research FFELP* policies, you may wish to subscribe to the CM public listserv. By subscribing to the listserv, you will receive information such as draft policy proposals for review and comment, final policy updates after approval by the CM Governing Board, committee updates, industry surveys and other information.

MDHEWD staff contact for the CM:

  • Dan Day, senior associate for compliance and member of the CM Governing Board
  • Amy Hedrick, policy analyst for compliance

Note: On March 30, 2010 federal legislation was signed into law removing the authority of FFELP guarantors like the MDHEWD to guarantee new loans after June 30, 2010. All federal student loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2010 must be made by the federal government through the Federal Direct Loan Program.