Public Ad Campaign To Thwart Sallie MaeTakeover

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HARRISBURG, Pa. - (01/26/05) -- Opponents of Sallie Mae's bid toacquire the state's student loan agency began running radio adsaimed at fending off the hostile takeover. The campaign by theCoalition to Preserve Access to Higher Education comes as SallieMae executives are meeting this week with legislative leaders toconvince them to override the board of Pennsylvania HigherEducation Assistance Agency, which flatly rejected the $1 billiontakeover offer. The radio ads will run for two week and call onlisteners to contact their lawmakers and tell them to 'say no' toSallie Mae. One ad claims a Sallie Mae takeover will drive upcollege costs by eliminating student loan competition; whileanother claims giving a Sallie Mae on in-state student aid would bebad business. It's not clear who is behind the campaign but avariety of groups, including the state's colleges and organizedlabor, have weighed in against the Sallie Mae proposal in recentdays. In an interview earlier this week, Richard Wiley, presidentand CEO of PHEAA, said that borrowing for college could become morecostly if Sallie Mae's bid for the state-run agency is successful.PHEAA is the largest originator of student loans in Pennsylvania,with a 21% share, or $661 million of loans made in 2003; whilePhiladelphia-based PNC Financial was second with 17% or $527million, and Sallie Mae was third, with a 7% share, or $226million.

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