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College Student Relief Act of 2007

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC


College Student Relief Act of 2007 -- (House of Representatives - January 17, 2007)

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Mr. CARTER. Madam Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding.

Madam Speaker, I have here a copy of three letters that I have received out of 500 letters I have received on this bill that we are addressing today, from my constituents in my district in central Texas. They are raising a lot of issues that they are very, very concerned about.

The trend of the letters is, we were promised a 50 percent reduction in interest rates for the money that we borrowed to go to school or that we are going to borrow to go to school and we are not getting that. The only subsidized loans for undergraduates fall in the category of this bill. They are concerned about that. They are unhappy and mad about that.

Then the cost of this bill comes out of the Federal Family Education Loan Program, those other loans that are not being addressed in this bill, to reduce the interest rate which was promised to the American people by the other party. This is a concern for people in my district because many of those people are going to school with the same financial burdens that they thought that were going to be addressed by the bill, that are not being addressed; and the programs that they work through are going to bear the cost, which is going to make that market weaker and less available for those students who have to go to that market so they can go to school. Quite frankly, these letters are very concerned about that.

And then I have letters from people who work in the FFELP program, who are concerned about the fact that what this bill is going to do is put them out of work. Eight hundred people in my district work in the student loan program and have expressed a concern that this bill will put them out of work because it actually puts the burden of taking care of the subsidized undergraduate students on all the other Federal programs in fees and taxes that are added on.

So I have 500 letters in my office expressing concern, three of which I have with me.

When we tell the American people we are going to do something, we ought to do it. This bill would be much more acceptable, I think, to these people who have written me from my district if we were meeting the promise that was made to the American people, and, more importantly, to our college students, and addressed lowering interest rates for everyone.

So I rise today on behalf of the 500 letters that I have received in my office since this bill came on the radar screen, and I rise on behalf of those of us who wish we could have had some input into this bill so that possibly we could have addressed these issues and possibly we could have come up with better solutions that would not deprive others of the ability to go to school.

Finally, nothing is done here to address the real costs of education for our American students, which is also a promise broken.

So I rise here on behalf of the people of central Texas to express our concern about promises broken

I must oppose this legislation because of the negative effects this program will have on the Federal Family Education Loan Program, FFELP, program. The new taxes and fees imposed by this legislation will devastate the FFELP industry--an industry that has been proven successful by any imaginable measurement. FFELP makes higher education more affordable by using market forces to provide borrowers with the most competitive rates. FFELP also works with students to manage their debts, an effort that has led to record-low default rates. By attacking the FFELP industry, this language will cause decreases and lender competition and affect the ability of families to choose the lender that best suits their needs. I wholeheartedly support attempts to lower the costs of higher education, but the unspoken consequences of the bill will result in less competition and fewer options for these students. That is a consequence I cannot support.

December 21, 2006.
Hon. JOHN CARTER,
House of Representatives,
Washington, DC.

DEAR REPRESENTATIVE: I have worked at Sallie Mae for 17 years and am a supervisor in Killeen, Texas.

Sallie Mae does a great job helping students and parents get the loans they need for college.

Sallie Mae also works hard to help make our community a better place and just received an important award from the President for its community service.

Please continue to support the Field Program that has worked so well.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Don McCannell.

December 18, 2006.
Hon. JOHN CARTER,
House of Representatives,
Washington, DC.

DEAR REPRESENTATIVE: I'm a Sallie Mae employee and now company officer, and have worked here for over 17 years. I'm really proud of what I do at this company to assist students to go to college. Not only do we help students and their families but we give back to our communities here in Texas. The Killeen/Ft. Hood area benefits greatly.

As you get ready to start the new Congress, I ask that you please remember the great help that the guaranteed education loan program provides for our Nation's students.

Thanks for all your support of higher education. It's priority for us and I know it's a priority for you.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Deborah J. Bragg Sather.

December 18, 2006.
Hon. JOHN CARTER,
House of Representatives,
Washington, DC.

DEAR REPRESENTATIVE, I am a Sallie Mae employee and have worked here in Killeen, Texas for 15 years. I can say in all honesty, I have never worked for a more caring, generous and respectful company than Sallie Mae.

I am very proud of the part I play at this company to help students go to college. Not only do we help students and their families, we give back to the community here at Sallie Mae.

When I tell my family and friends all the charitable events we participate in, they are amazed. Their amazement is not because I participate but because of the extent Sallie Mae the corporation participates, matching our donations (2:1), giving employees time off for fund raising and encouraging all employees to give back to the community. I personally participate with, The American Cancer Society, March of Dimes, United Way, American Heart Association, Families in Crisis and a few others. The giving doesn't stop with our local communities, Sallie Mae reaches across the country to people in so many ways.

I had the privilege to participate in one of the Sallie Mae Fund's National Latino ``Paying for College' Bus Tour events. I cannot express in words how overwhelmed I was to see the company I work for reach out to young Hispanic adults, showing them the way to a better life through higher education. Thirty years ago, I was a young Hispanic adult with parents who did not speak English and there was no ``Sallie Mae' to help me find the path to higher education. Although I did not go to college, Sallie Mae has given me an opportunity to succeed and achieve my goals in life. I have been able to use the tools Sallie Mae has shared with thousands of people to ensure my children follow that road to higher education. I do not understand how Senator Kennedy and others can say Sallie Mae puts profits ahead of students. Over the past five years alone, The Sallie Mae Fund has distributed nearly $90 million in philanthropic giving to support programs and initiatives that help open doors to higher education, prepare families for their college investment, and bridge the gap when no one else can.

As you move forward to help families afford the rising college costs, I ask that you not dismantle the FFELP loan program that has worked so well to help millions of Americans go to college and achieve their dreams.

Thank you.

Sincerely,
BLANCA VAZQUEZ.

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