House Committee on Education and Labor
U.S. House of Representatives

Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon
Ranking Member

Fiscally responsible reforms for students, workers and retirees.



Dear Colleague

February 19, 2010

Protect Students' Access to Financial Aid
Extend the Ensuring Continued Access to Student Loans Act

Dear Colleague: 

In less than five months, the student loan financial market will lose a critical backstop. On July 1, the bipartisan Ensuring Continued Access to Student Loans Act (ECASLA) will expire, leaving millions of students at risk of losing access to billions of dollars in financial aid for the upcoming school year. 

The Obama Administration is moving ahead full force with this risky gambit, taking political advantage of the credit crunch with the assumption that Congress will mandate that every college in the nation switch to the government-run Direct Loan program. While the House has advanced such a proposal, the bill has stalled in the Senate. Still, the clock ticks toward July 1, 2010 -- the date at which the student loan markets may destabilize, credit may dry up, and students may be left without loans. 

There is a simple solution to this looming catastrophe: extend the bipartisan safeguards that are keeping the student loan market stable in a tumultuous economy.  

ECASLA offers three critical benefits: 

  • It guarantees financial aid stability. Since its enactment, not a single eligible student has been denied a federal loan.
  • It maintains choice, competition, and service. ECASLA provides a temporary federal backstop -- not a permanent federal takeover.
  • It costs taxpayers nothing. ECASLA has not cost taxpayers a single dime. It stabilized the student loan capital markets and restored liquidity at no cost to the federal Treasury. 

More than 4,000 colleges and universities remain in the federal student loan program that combines a federal guarantee with private-sector capital, services, and benefits. These schools -- and the students they serve -- face an uncertain future if Congress fails to extend ECASLA. 

H.R. 4103 is a sensible, no-cost solution to provide certainty to students and schools. Because the credit markets have not yet normalized, passage of H.R. 4103 will simply extend this successful program for one additional year, providing certainty to students, colleges, and the marketplace that federal loans originated through the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) program will be available. 

At this late date, it would be irresponsible for Congress to not pass this fiscally responsible measure to ensure the continued availability of student loans for all students. Financial aid directors all over the country have urged Congress to pass an extension of ECASLA. H.R. 4103 is good for students and families and for America’s colleges and universities. 

If you would like to cosponsor H.R. 4103 or have any questions about the legislation, please contact Amy Jones at x5-6558 or  



John Kline
Senior Republican
Committee on Education and Labor 


Brett Guthrie
Senior Republican
Subcommittee on Higher Education, Lifelong Learning, and Competitiveness