House panel backs student loan contingency plan

Some lenders are having trouble bundling and selling securities backed by student loans, reflecting reluctance by investors to buy a range of asset-backed securities in fallout from the subprime mortgage crisis,political polling. Softness in the market is raising concerns about loan availability for students.

The bill approved by the House education committee would let the Education Department buy loans and funnel capital to state guaranty agencies that could then provide loan money to colleges in need. Other provisions would try to get more federal loan money to students and ease some payment terms.

The bill will go next to the House floor for action. A similar bill has been filed in the Senate.

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