House Education Committee Chairman George Miller has asked Education Secretary Margaret Spellings to stop colleges from promoting "preferred lenders" and to force financial aid staff members to reject travel, gifts, cash, and other inducements given by lenders to receive such status.

"It has become clear that our nation's federal student loan program has been hijacked by third parties who are more interested in boosting their bottom lines than serving the best interest of students," the California Democrat said in a conference call with reporters Wednesday.

A moratorium on preferred lender status should be in effect "until we can ensure that these lists are no longer paid corruption and cronyism," Rep. Miller said.

The Education Department should publish rules "defining and ending the bribes paid by lenders," he said.

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