College Group Denounces Sallie MaeBid

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HARRISBURG, Pa. - (01/24/05) -- The state's private collegeassociation lent its voice Friday to the mounting opposition to theproposed takeover of the state's student loan agency by studentloan giant Sallie Mae. The Association of Independent Colleges andUniversities of Pennsylvania called on Gov. Ed Rendell and thestate legislature to reject Sallie Mae's $1 billion offer toacquire the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency."Pennsylvania's students would be the losers, despite anyshort-term monetary gain provided to students through increasedstate revenues due to the Sallie Mae purchase," said Don Francis,president of the association, in a statement sent to statepolicymakers. The group, which represents 83 private colleges anduniversities in the Keystone State, has joined opposition to thedeal by the state-run agency and one of the state's mostinfluential labor unions, AFSCME. The colleges said it feared aSallie Mae takeover would extend the influence of the company, nowthe dominant player in the student loan market, to the detriment ofconsumers. Sallie Mae executives were meeting last week and thisweek with leaders of the legislature, which controls the state-runagency, to push their proposal, which was rejected out of hand bythe board of the PHEAA. The PHEAA provides student loan servicesfor more than 170 Pennsylvania credit unions.

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