IOWA CITY, Iowa (9/22/09)--As the private student loan market becomes tighter and more regulated, the gap between college costs and loan availability is widening, according to University of Iowa Community CU, Iowa City. Higher tuition and other costs mean there is a $30,000 shortfall for students attending a public university for four years and $100,000 for private schools, the $838.4 million asset credit union told Iowa City Press-Citizen (Sept. 21). Steve Quigley, senior vice president for retail sales at the credit union, noted that the need posed by the gap is why the credit union decided to get into the student loan business. It is one of 80 credit unions throughout the nation offering private student loans through Credit Union Student Choice, a private student loan provider for credit unions. One student, a senior at the university, told the publication he is $10,000 short because he couldn't get enough loans--from institutions that previously lent to him--to cover his costs. Private student loans can fill that gap, said the credit union, but many lenders are leaving the private insurance market after the economy crashed. With a bill in Congress to terminate a key federal student loan program--the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP)--the gap could become a canyon. The Credit Union National Association has gone on record opposing the elimination of the FFELP program. Eliminating FFELP would remove a "valuable option" for students (News Now Sept. 18) A University of Iowa (UI) official said that overall it hasn't seen a gap between loan availability and college costs. It provided $59 million in grants and scholarships this year, 11% more than last year. UI's student financial aid office suggested students compare lenders and examine interest rates, terms and fees when taking out a private loan.