Sallie Mae and 31 other student lenders and allied groups have come up with a counterproposal to the switch to direct lending. Surprisingly, they are agreeing to the elimination of all subsidies for making the loans--this means they are agreeing that the business of actually lending money to students themselves is too risky or otherwise undesirable for private sector lenders. Instead, they want to collect fees to service the loans for which the federal government will provide the capital. Not so incidentally, their plan "...would preserve 35,000 jobs that are supported by the current system."
As student-aid expert Sandy Baum told me today, "At this point in time it seems pretty clear that private sources are not actually funding these loans, so it doesn't make sense to pay them to fund the loans.
We should do whatever is most efficient, saves money, and works for students." Whether that means a single, government-administered and serviced program or a complicated nationwide network of public and private entities using additional taxpayer money to produce the image of "competition"...well, you can ask the health care reformers.