LEWISTON — FISC Solutions, a provider of student loan servicing to more than 25 community banks and credit unions in Maine, has announced the discontinuation of the Maine Advantage Education Loan Program.

The program was started in 1997 by a group of Maine lenders and FISC to provide low-cost Stafford and Plus loans to Maine students and their families. During its 12 years of existence, the Maine Advantage assisted more than 25,000 Maine students. Recent congressional action proposes to eliminate lender participation in the Federal Family Education Loan Program in favor of the William D. Ford Direct Loan Program. As a result of these proposals, most higher education institutions have already moved to the direct loan program, eliminating the need for programs such as the Maine Advantage.

Jill Parker, FISC’s senior vice president of operations, said FISC and lender clients are disappointed by the need to discontinue the locally serviced program, but said FISC will continue to service existing Maine Advantage loans.

The Maine Advantage program will discontinue accepting new applications after March 15. Borrowers who have loan applications in the process with the Maine Advantage Education Loan Program should contact FISC at 1-800-782-5772 to confirm the status of their loan.