“He’s getting away with not having to answer about his relationship with the student loan industry and the implications for borrowers”
Ed Gillespie vows that if he’s elected governor of Virginia, he will make lowering the high cost of college a priority. But for years, the lobbying firm he ran, Quinn Gillespie & Associates, fought to do the exact opposite.
At a turning point for the student loan industry a decade ago, the firm pressed Congress to kill legislation aimed at lowering the cost of college. The bill aimed to take millions of dollars in subsidies that had been given to private lenders and instead use that money for grants for low-income college students and to lower education loan interest rates. Quinn Gillespie clients from the loan industry — Nelnet, Bank of America and College Loan Corp. — were trying to protect the profits they earned from financing student loans on the government’s behalf.
Though the lobbying campaign proved unsuccessful — the legislation passed — Gillespie’s critics say it raises questions about his commitment to college affordability, a key part of his platform. They also worry that the Republican’s ties to Nelnet, which now manages a portion of the federal government’s $1.3 trillion student loan portfolio, could stymie efforts to have the state regulate the company and other student loan servicers.
“He’s getting away with not having to answer about his relationship with the student loan industry and the implications for borrowers,” said Maggie Thompson, executive director of Generation Progress Action, the youth engagement arm of the Center for American Progress Action Fund.…