NEW YORK - A top official of the Student Loan Marketing Association moved last week to assuage investors' concerns that Clinton administration policies would harm Sallie Mae.

"The government's student loan program is and will be the mainstay of higher-education financing," said Albert L. Lord, chief operating officer of the federal agency. Sallie's Mae's role as purchaser and servicer of student loans "fits in with Clinton's idea of public-private partnerships," he added.

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