Remember those chain letters that you received as a kid...you know, it went something like this: if you send this letter to 5 of your friends then you will get an avalanche of letters in return. In other words, one letter begets many others to follow. I must admit it was kinda fun to get all that snail mail in those days, even if you had no idea who had sent you the letter. We seem to have seen Washington's version of this chain letter routine in the past three weeks.
For those of you scoring at home, here is the timetable (please let me know if I missed any letters too):
- On October 26, Secretary Duncan sends letter to University presidents to encourage them to be Direct-Loan ready for the 2010-11 academic year.
- On November 3rd, ranking Republican on the House Education and Labor Committee John Kline sent this letter to Secretary Duncan which took issue with his letter on October 26th:
- On November 3rd, Senator Johanns from Nebraska sent this letter to Secretary Duncan, which started with this opener (note the typo in the address section, Washingon; I wonder if it made it to its final destination):
- On November 6th, Senator Ben Nelson from Nebraska also sent a letter to, yes, how did you guess it, Secretary Duncan which included this paragraph:
After that barrage, kinda makes you wonder if Secretary Duncan was hanging out by his mailbox to see what nastygrams might arrive next...but alas 12 days later there is joy in Edville, as the chain letterwriting has come full circle with this missive sent to college presidents by House Education Committee Chairman Miller and Rep. Rubén Hinojosa that said, in part:
Now if only as much attention was being paid in this debate to the struggling student loan borrower, of whom at least 1/3 are having trouble making their monthly payments.
I missed the Republican bills being introduced yesterday in the House and Senate to extend ECASLA for the 2010-11 academic year. Here is a copy of the press release and an excerpt:
"Representative John Kline (R-MN), Ranking Member on the House Education and Labor Committee, and Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY), Ranking Member on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, announced today they are introducing bipartisan legislation to extend the Ensuring Continued Access to Student Loans Act (ECASLA). This effort, like the original legislation, would maintain stability in the student loan market, providing students and colleges with confidence in the uninterrupted availability of federal student loans in the face of an ongoing global credit crunch. It also would help those schools opting to remain in the student loan program of their choice."
Meanwhile, the stock market reacted to an analyst's note by boosting the share prices of student lenders yesterday, according to Dow Jones Newswires:
"Although still an uphill battle, the survival of the FFELP program, we believe, is a real possibility," FBR Capital Markets analyst Matt Snowling wrote in a note to investors, referring to the Federal Family Education Loan Program, which allows private lenders to originate government-backed loans for college students. The Obama administration had proposed a plan to bypass the lenders in favor of direct lending, allowing the companies only to service the loans but not originate them.
According to Snowling, the health-care debate has delayed congressional action on the lending legislation. Because schools and students need clarity by the time the new lending season gets under way this winter, the government could be forced to reauthorize the current rules and try again for an overhaul next year. Snowling said legislation to extend the current law could be introduced in both houses as early as Wednesday.
If there is such a delay, Snowling said, a lender-backed alternative to Obama's proposal would look more attractive the next time the debate comes to a head."