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Washington
Student loan bill support slipping in Senate
WASHINGTON (2/2/10)--Legislation that would effectively end government-subsidized support of student lending by credit unions and other financial institutions passed the House with ease last September, but has seemingly stalled in the Senate. The House version of the bill, H.R. 3221, the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2009, which would terminate the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) in favor of increased funding for government-run Pell Grant programs, passed the House by a 253-171 vote late last year. While a similar bill has not yet been introduced in the Senate, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) is known to support the goals of the bill. The Credit Union National Association last year warned against the consequences of eliminating FFELP, saying that doing so would limit the choices presented to prospective college students. Specifically, the over 1,000 credit unions that provide, service, and support student loans, would likely be forced out of the student loan business. The Obama administration also supports eliminating FFELP, and various estimates indicate that doing so could save the federal government as little as $47 billion or as much as $81 billion over a ten-year period.


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