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College Access and Opportunity Act of 2005

Location: Washington, DC

COLLEGE ACCESS AND OPPORTUNITY ACT OF 2005 -- (House of Representatives - March 30, 2006)

Ms. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ. Mr. Chairman, I rise today in opposition of the single holder rule, and in support of Americans pursuing secondary education.

As the law currently stands, student loan borrowers attempting to refinance and consolidate their loans face unfair restrictions from the so-called "single holder rule." This rule limits the search of these students to their current lender for a Consolidation Loan, if the current lender is the holder of all of the Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL) they wish to consolidate.

Mr. Chairman, with tuition prices on the rise, it should be the role of the Federal Government to help those Americans pursuing higher education, not impede them. Competition amongst the lender industry for these Consolidation loans would help lower interest rates for these loans, lowering the cost of secondary education for countless Americans. At a time when the dream of higher education has become farther out of reach for many families, it would be irresponsible for this Congress to stand in the way of the elimination of these restrictive provisions.

Furthermore, we have learned a great deal in recent months of increased competition from overseas in the areas of math and science. In order for our Nation to remain a leader in innovation, and maintain our status in the international economy, we must make educating the next generation of Americans a priority. The single holder rule serves only as a barrier to this critical education.

I do not stand alone in my support of the elimination of the single holder rule. Rather, I am lending my voice to a bipartisan chorus. The Conference Report on the 2003 Omnibus Appropriations Act urged the authorizing committees to repeal the single holder rule to "ensure borrowers have the best options available to them in order to manage their student loan obligations."

Mr. Chairman, I am pleased to see that both the House and Senate versions of the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act to pass out of conference would finally repeal the single holder rule. This rule does nothing more than pander to the student loan industry special interests at the expense of America's students. While I will not be lending my support to H.R. 609 today for other reasons, I applaud the efforts of both Republicans and Democrats to eliminate this harmful rule.

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