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The Trump Era Is Already Giving a Boost to Sagging Student Lenders

Higher education companies find solace on Wall Street after being punished by Obama.

Student debt was far from a signature issue in the general election campaign, but the result still reverberated among lenders and for-profit educators. Investors in the nation's largest student loan companies and proprietary colleges bet that President-Elect Donald Trump, combined with Republican control of Congress, will lead to a reduced federal role in education lending, as well as an easing of enforcement efforts and new rules.

Shares in Navient Corp., the largest student loan servicer in the U.S., with more than 12 million debtors, surged more than 20 percent on Wednesday afternoon. SLM Corp., better known as Sallie Mae, was up more than 19 percent; no company in America originates more student loans without government backing than Sallie Mae. Both companies' shares hit 52-week highs.