A student lobbying group and a union for service workers said Monday that they would push the buyers of SLM Corp., which is better known as Sallie Mae, to offer more attractive terms on student loans.
The United States Student Association and the Service Employees International Union said they would lead a delegation to discuss loan terms and debt collection practices on Thursday at the New York headquarters of J.C. Flowers, a private equity firm and leader of a group that has agreed to buy Sallie Mae this year.
The lobbying may go for naught, however, considering that Sallie Mae said last week its buyers (which also include Friedman, Fleischer & Lowe LLC, Bank of America Corp., and JPMorgan Chase & Co.) may try to back out of the deal because of pending legislation to cut $19 billion in subsidies to student lenders. The House passed the bill last week.
The union and the lobbying group also said they had begun a campaign to increase awareness about a college education's rising cost, up 35% since 2000, and students' increased dependence on loans.
The campaign includes a blog, town hall meetings, an online petition, and outreach through social networking Web sites like MySpace.com and Facebook.com.
"The industry must develop a model that generates profits and does what the student loan program was designed to do - make it easier for students to afford to go to college," Stephen Lerner, the director of the union's "private-equity project," said in a press release.