This is the VOA Special
English Economics Report.
Imagine this: An official in a position of trust helps you choose a company
for a service important to your future. You expect that the advice will be
in your best interest.
What you do not know is that the person's office has a financial relationship
with that company. The official may have received gifts likes trips or stock
options, or money for professional advice.
Would you wonder, then, just whose interest was being served?
what some American states are investigating in connection with the student loan
industry. They are examining possible conflicts of interest when schools direct
students to lists of so-called preferred lenders.
New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo says colleges and universities often
fail to tell about their ties to banks and other finance companies. His office
has already settled cases including with two big lenders.
Sallie Mae, the nation's biggest education lender, agreed to pay two million
dollars. And Education Finance Partners agreed to pay two and one-half million.
Neither of them admitted any wrongdoing. The money will go to educate students
In some cases, when students call a school for loan advice, they talk to a
lending company employee. But they are not always told that.
Andrew Cuomo wants financial aid offices and lenders to follow a set of
rules, a College Loan Code of Conduct. These would end financial ties between
lenders and schools, including gifts and trips.
At the same time, lawmakers are seeking changes in the student loan system.
Mister Cuomo was at a hearing Wednesday in the House of Representatives. He
criticized the Department of Education for not doing enough to control the
student loan industry.
A day earlier, Education Secretary Margaret Spellings announced a committee
to study federal student loan programs. And last week, her department
temporarily restricted the use of a national system of financial records on
millions of students. She said officials were concerned about an increase in
usage of that government database by lenders and other companies.
In another development, Sallie Mae, officially the SLM Corporation, has
agreed to a buyout offer. Two banks and two private equity companies are
offering shareholders twenty-five billion dollars. The deal is unusual. Loan
companies generally do not produce enough profit to finance a sale based largely
on borrowed money.
And that's the VOA Special English Economics Report, by Mario Ritter. I'm
in one's best interest :对…最有益