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Blunt pushes sale of MOHELA

Governor Matt Blunt.
Governor Matt Blunt.

By Matt Sepic, KWMU

St. Louis, MO. – Missouri Governor Matt Blunt flew around the state Thursday to promote a plan he says will provide a cash windfall to the state's colleges and universities.

Blunt wants to privatize the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority also known as MOHELA.

The Legislature established the nonprofit 25 years ago to handle student loans.

Blunt argues that selling that agency could net the state 400 million dollars; money that could go back into higher education.

But he says students would still be able to get the same kinds of low-interest loans MOHELA now provides.

We'll be able to set some restrictions and some provision on that private partner, Blunt said. And certainly we'll be able to require them to provide some of the services that are provided today by MOHILA.

But critics say a private, possibly out-of-state company would not give students the same quality of service.

Maida Coleman is the Missouri Senate's Minority Leader.

What I think will happen to students is they will not have the opportunity to have those very low interest rate loans that MOHELA has been able to provide since it's a not-for-profit organization, Coleman said.

The agency has loan forgiveness programs for borrowers. And it also offers special rates to nurses and police officers.