What it does: Government-backed student loans will now come directly from the government, not banks.

Estimated savings: $61 billion, much of which will be used to fund the Pell Grant program to needy students.

Immediate impact for Minnesota students: Except for shoring up Pell Grants, not much. Many colleges already have switched to the direct-lending process. Borrowing limits and interest rates are unchanged.

Immediate impact on lenders: Student lenders say thousands of jobs will be cut, but there's a provision in the bill that will allow some banks to bid on contracts to service the loans.

Future impact: Beginning with new loans in 2014, students no longer will have to spend more than 10 percent of their discretionary income on college loans. After 20 years, government loans are forgiven.