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No consensus on future of student loans

on Tuesday,March 03,2009 22:03

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While the government has praised the new education budget and reform plans as a road to making college affordable and accessible, others have bemoaned the proposed elimination of the federally guaranteed student loan program.

President Obama''s recent budget draft calls for phasing out the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) and replacing it by the direct-loan program run by the Education Department.

The move would make the future of Sallie Mae, the biggest private lender, as well as others highly uncertain.

Representative George Miller, a democrat from California and chairman of the House education committee, praised the proposal, calling it "a solid plan to make federal student loans more reliable, while saving taxpayers billions of dollars."

However, on the day it was announced shares in Sallie Mae were down 37 percent at the New York Stock Exchange, while Student Loan Corp, a major lender tied to Citigroup, was down 24 percent, according to CNNMoney.com.

The government was motivated in its decision by the need to cut costs and stressed that FFELP has been too expensive and overly dependent on the stock market.

In his statement discussing the new education budget, Secretary Arne Duncan said its provisions and the funding available through the stimulus package will make college loans reliable, stable and efficient, insulating families from the turmoil of the financial markets.

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