Student Loans

Student Loans

College costs are growing rapidly and financial aid hasn’t kept up. Close to 70 percent of undergrads graduate with debt. In 2009, the average student borrower owed $27,600.  The Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act (SAFRA) of 2010 ensures that all federally funded student loans will be directed through the federal government’s Direct Loan Program (DLP,) saving $61 billion and using that money to fund increased Pell Grant funding.  SAFRA abolished the Federal Education Loan Program (FFELP), which used subsidized loan companies to provide student loans. 

Cry Wolf Quotes

Currently, students have the option to choose between private and public lenders, and I am a firm believer that such choice and competition among lenders is the best proven method for reducing costs and improving services. By omitting private lenders, we would create a monopoly within the federal government regarding student loans.

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From a statement issued by moderate representative Paul Kanjorski (D-PA) after the House approved SAFRA.

Legislation passed by the U.S. House of Representatives, however, would require all federal student loans to be originated by the federal government, jeopardizing hundreds of private sector jobs in Wilkes-Barre and hampering related economic development in the state. Sallie Mae currently contributes more than $40 million annually to the local economy and has contributed millions to local charities.

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Industry press release from the Pennsylvania branch of Sallie Mae.

Here is what they haven't told us: The Education Department will borrow money at 2.8 percent from the Treasury, lend it to you at 6.8 percent and spend the difference on new programs. So you'll work longer to pay off your student loan to help pay for someone else's education -- and to help your U.S. representative's reelection.

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Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) published this anti-SAFRA op-ed in The Washington Post.

The student-loan provisions buried in the health care legislation intentionally eliminate private-sector jobs at a time when our country can least afford to lose them.

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Sallie Mae Spokeswoman Martha Holler

Evidence

Resources

Campus Progress is the youth wing of the Center for American Progress. They do work in both advocacy and journalism.

Higher Education Watch is the New America Foundation's blog about the politics and policy of higher education.