The SLA Student Loan Index, an equally weighted index of the four publicly held "pure-play" student loan companies has risen 83% since late February, when I last ran the calculations on the index. Note that even with that strong performance over the last four months, two of the company stocks (STU and NNI) are below water for the year-to-date while Sallie Mae is up a more modest 15.4%. The three year returns remain abysmal, with the best performer, NNI, only losing 66%. The index bottomed in early March over investor fears about the budget blueprint put forward by the Obama Administration in late February to eliminate the FFEL program by shifting all federal loan volume into the Direct Loan program.
So, what has happened since early March to improve market sentiment about the sector: