Bluefield State College's Director of Financial Aid and a counselor from that office attended the recent William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program in Atlanta, GA. The training series, coordinated by the U.S. Department of Education, included three different training opportunities. Thomas Ilse, BSC Financial Aid Director, and Terry Fox, financial aid counselor, participated in three workshops, including "Getting Started with Electronic Data Exchange Training," "Training for New Direct Loan Schools," and "Direct Loan Update Training for Current Direct Loan Schools." BSC has already implemented the student direct loan program, as well as electronic data exchange. In fact, more than 1,000 BSC students currently receive student direct loans. "The program gets money to the students much faster than previous methods," Ilse noted, "because the Department of Education becomes the lender." Fox observed that, with the direct loan program, students receive many repayment options. "There's really no reason for a student to default on a loan now," he said. "The William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program has had the effect of opening a window of opportunity for high school graduates to continue their education at the college level," Ilse commented. In addition to their workshop experiences, Ilse and Fox met several regional Department of Education representatives and received updates from those officials on the most recent developments pertaining to student financial aid.