Borrowed Time for Student Loans?

Proposals for deep cuts in federal student-loan subsidies are percolating about Washington and causing Wall Street to shy away from lenders' shares

Ever since the Democrats took control of Congress last fall, investors have worried that the government might start trimming the largesse it gives educational lenders such as Sallie Mae. On Jan. 17, the House of Representatives passed legislation that would trim rates on need-based subsidized federal student loans by 50% over five years. The Senate has yet to move on the measure, but President Bush weighed in Feb. 5 with a proposed 2008 budget that aims to bolster grant funds, partly with a huge cut for federal loan subsidies. Stunned Wall Street players quickly unloaded shares of lenders such as Sallie Mae.

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