Continuing constraints in our capital markets have posed challenges for students and student lenders throughout the last year. We recognize that education is the foundation of a strong American workforce and we must not let challenges in our capital markets hinder our students’ opportunities. Given these ongoing concerns, the Administration is taking a series of steps to support the student loan market.

Earlier this week, President George W. Bush signed H.R. 6889, the extension of the Ensuring Continued Access to Student Loans Act. We appreciate Congress providing the Department of Education, in coordination with the Treasury Department and the Office of Management and Budget, renewed temporary powers to use federal funds to ensure students and families continue to have access to student loans.

The loan purchase and participation interest programs implemented over the last few months have helped ensure that Federal student loans were available to students enrolling in institutions for the 2008-2009 school year, and Federal student lending is exceeding last year’s pace.

Our financing program has supported just over 40 percent of the Federal Family Education Loan Program loans that have been disbursed this year. Over 800 lenders have enrolled in our loan purchase program. Almost $51 billion of federally guaranteed loans have been originated for the current school year, up from approximately $45 billion for the same period last year.

Over the next few months, schools and lenders will be making decisions for the 2009-2010 school year. Using our newly extended authorities, the Administration is moving aggressively to support the continued availability of funding for federal student loans in the next school year with the goal of restoring the government guaranteed student loan market to normal operations. We are working on an expedited basis and will make further announcements in the coming weeks.

October 10, 2008