How does the single lender congress stand?
One of the main issues related to education under discussion in the US at the moment is the single lender rule for college loan consolidation. Because the costs of higher education are so high in the US, students end up contracting several student loans during their college years. It is usually considered in their benefit to consolidate these loans, meaning that they will replace all their loans contracted with different interest rates with a single loan that has a unique, fixed interest rate. Up to the current debates, loan consolidation came together with the single lender rule. The single lender rule means that students can only consolidate their loans if they are all contracted from the federal government or from the same private company. While consolidation of loans is considered to be highly beneficial for college students and graduates, the single lender rule is often argued to be restricting some of these benefits.
Because not many college students have the time to follow the congressional debates on the single lender rule, many colleges and websites for students offer single lender updates. Given the intricacies of congressional debates, a single lender update may be more helpful than one can imagine. The text of the original bill may change numerous times between the time of its proposal and the time of the final passing of the legislation and a single lender update can keep students informed about the main transformations in the text of the bill regarding the single lender rule. In addition, the single lender update can provide the essential information about the debates on the single lender rule cleansed of the technical legal or financial language that can be too tough to follow and understand for students.
The single lender rule is being discussed under the framework of a larger bill on financial issues related to higher education in the US. This has been a very contentious bill, supposedly opposing the Democrats to the Republicans and the big business interests of the main financial lending institutions to the interests of the students and their families. Among the many aspects hotly debated in the congress, the single lender rule has fared as one of the least controversial, surprisingly enough.
Under the original text of the bill, introduced by a Republican congressman, the single lender rule was supposed to be maintained, in spite of the call for its elimination. Because the congress is Republican- dominated at the moment, there were suspicions that the bill would face a single lender congress and that the cancellation of the single lender rule would not be taken into consideration. In addition, strong lobbying from the main financial lending institutions could turn the congress into a single lender congress. It is in the best interest of these corporations to keep the single lender rule, as it would force the students interested in taking advantage of the consolidation option to contract all their college loans from the same financial institutions. This is likely to be one of the main corporations, whose financial packages receive much better publicizing. These financial institutions have been very present in the debate on the education bill, causing the fears of a single lender congress.
However, even though the bill was introduced by a Republican, whose office has been sponsored, and it faced a Republican-dominated congress, its text was altered to include the cancellation of the single lender rule. The fears of a single lender congress were thus appeased. It was a Democrat congressman that proposed an amendment about the repelling of the single lender rule. While there was some debate about this, finally both Republicans and Democrats agreed that the single lender rule should be eliminated.
It cannot be said, however, that the voice of the financial corporations is not felt in the current form of the bill though. The cancellation of the single lender rule can come into effect only after July 1st, 2004. This means that in this period, the financial corporations will still profit from the enormous benefits of the single lender rule. Because during this period the interest rates are extremely low for student loans, the corporations have the best motive to advertise and push forward their financial packages. The students are constantly told to consolidate now because of the low rates. Consolidating now, however, means doing it under the single lender rule and thus having to deal with a corporation in most cases. Things are not as clear-cut as they appear to be and the consensus of the Democrats and Republicans for the good of the American students is perhaps not as interest-free as it appears to be.
About the Author: More information about the single lender rule and the single lender congress is available online.