The Department of Education has ruled that Sallie Mae is not required to pay a 30-basis-point fee on securitized student loans.

"Sallie Mae has always believed that it does not own the securitized loans and that the fee therefore is not applicable to them," Sallie Mae executive vice president and general counsel Timothy G. Greene said Friday.

The government-sponsored enterprise will now count as income $100 million that had been reserved to pay the fee on securitized assets.

Congress imposed the fee in 1993 on the company's loan purchases to reflect the price of implied federal backing. The Department of Education subsequently said the fee applies to any loan in which Sallie Mae holds an interest, including securitized student loans.

That interpretation was struck down in January by a federal appeals court. The court sent the case back to a lower court here with instructions to return it to the Department of Education.

Mr. Greene touted the victory as evidence that Sallie Mae management can provide higher returns than a group of dissident shareholders, know as the Committee to Restore Value.

Shareholders are to vote Thursday on whether the student loan concern should be privatized and who will run the company-the current management or the dissident group.

The dissidents are expected to win, thanks to a strong endorsement last week by Institutional Investor Services, an independent proxy advisory firm.

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