ERIC Number: EJ792178
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Apr-18
Reference Count: 0
Despite a Settlement, Sallie Mae Still Plays Host to College Student-Aid Sites
Hermes, J. J.
Chronicle of Higher Education, v54 n32 pA37 Apr 2008
Last April, as part of a $2-million settlement with New York's attorney general, the nation's largest student-loan company, Sallie Mae, agreed to stop providing staff members for colleges' financial-aid offices and call centers at no cost to the institutions. But one year later, Sallie Mae still plays host to the entire online presence for the financial-aid offices of at least three colleges, through a program it calls Campus Gateway. The three--Bennett College for Women, Bethune-Cookman University, and Wiley College--are all minority-serving institutions, and students there rely heavily on financial aid. The program continues to raise questions about conflicts of interest in student lending, despite efforts by the attorney general, Andrew M. Cuomo, to root out such conflicts through his investigations. Some advocates for students question whether the institutions' use of a Sallie Mae-operated Web site inappropriately skews students' lending decisions. In the case of each of the three institutions "The Chronicle" has found to be using Campus Gateway, much of the content and financial-aid counseling that the aid offices provide online was created by the company. If students at those institutions seek a loan through the offices' Web sites, offers for private loans from Sallie Mae appear prominently. No disclaimer informs students that they are about to enter a site operated by the student-loan company, aside from a small "powered by Sallie Mae" logo. While the colleges' Web sites provide "preferred lender" lists that include other lenders, Sallie Mae tops the list at two of those colleges, Bennett and Bethune-Cookman. Sallie Mae was the lender for more than two-thirds of those two colleges' federal-loan volume in the 2006 fiscal year, according to the most recent market data compiled by Student Marketmeasure.
Descriptors: Student Loan Programs, Conflict of Interest, Web Sites, Student Financial Aid, Black Colleges, Investigations
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A