by me, on Tom Paine:
Why on earth would the government, in a time of unprecedented cutbacks in social spending, want to squash the cheaper direct loan program in favor of the more expensive subsidized loan program? Why would students be made to take the brunt of these cutbacks when both ends of the political spectrum agree that a better-educated workforce is essential to America's future competitiveness? Well, you could ask Terri Shaw, the head of the Office of Federal Student Aid in the Department of Education, which administers both programs. She spent most of her 22-year career working for Sallie Mae. Or you could ask Rep. Boehner, who received $136,470 in contributions over the last election cycle from members of the student loan industry, $22,375 from the Sallie Mae PAC alone. Or Rep. Howard ("Buck") McKeon, also of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, who got $77,750 from Sallie Mae. But you probably wouldn't get a straight answer from any of them.
CORRECTIONS: Luke Swarthout of the PIRGs says the $5800 figure, which I quote in the piece, is no longer viable because it pertains to the House bill, an earlier version. Also, the interest rate hikes from variable to fixed were apparently already in the law. I have asked Tom Paine to make the corrections online.