VSAC says loan programs are stable

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(Host) The leader of state’s key institution for student loans says the organization is going through changes in the current financial climate but that it has a solid financial base.

Don Vickers is the president of VSAC, the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation. Speaking on "Vermont Edition" Wednesday, Vickers said V-SAC won’t have any trouble guaranteeing federal loans for students starting college in September:

(Vickers) "I have no doubt in my mind that we will have capital for Stafford loans, sub and unsub, and PLUS loans to go to school in 2009.  There is no doubt about that.  Whether we access the bond market, or we use one of the programs set up by the Department of Education and US Treasury for making sure there’s adequate capital,  there is no doubt VSAC will have students loans for students entering next fall."

(Host) Rates for federal students loans do not fluctuate with the market because they are set by the government.  But private students loans are vulnerable to uncertainty in the market. Vickers says students will have a harder time securing private student loans, even through VSAC:

(Vickers) "And what happens is, getting access to that capital is not easy in this credit crisis. And we see a lot of our competitors out there having to raise their rates dramatically, having to raise their qualifications to borrow. And we’re still working on a plan to access capital for that market for next year."

(Host) Vickers says VSAC won’t know for sure about its ability to back those private loans until May.  He says less than 20 percent of VSAC’s total lending is in private loans.

About 95 percent of Vermonters who access student aid programs use VSAC, whether they go to school in Vermont or out of state. 

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