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Department Of Education Most Profitable Company In America

Obama administration reaps $51bn profit off student loans

Department Of Education Most Profitable Company In AmericaThe Obama administration is forecast to turn a record $51 billion profit this year from student loan borrowers, a sum greater than the earnings of the nation’s most profitable companies and roughly equal to the combined net income of the four largest U.S. banks by assets.

Figures made public Tuesday by the Congressional Budget Office show that the nonpartisan agency increased its 2013 fiscal year profit forecast for the Department of Education by 43 percent to $50.6 billion from its February estimate of $35.5 billion.

Exxon Mobil Corp., the nation’s most profitable company, reported $44.9 billion in net income last year. Apple Inc. recorded a $41.7 billion profit in its 2012 fiscal year, which ended in September, while Chevron Corp. reported $26.2 billion in earnings last year. JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup and Wells Fargo reported a combined $51.9 billion in profit last year.

The estimated increase in the Education Department’s earnings from student borrowers and their families may cause a political firestorm in Washington, where members of Congress and Obama administration officials thus far have appeared content to allow students to line government coffers.

The Education Department has generated nearly $120 billion in profit off student borrowers over the last five fiscal years, budget documents show, thanks to record relative interest rates on loans as well as the agency’s aggressive efforts to collect defaulted debt. A spokesman from the Education Department did not respond to a request for comment. A Congressional Budget Office spokesman could not be reached for comment after normal business hours.

The new profit prediction comes as Washington policymakers increasingly focus on soaring student debt levels and the record relative interest rates that borrowers pay as a potential impediment to economic growth. Regulators and officials at agencies that include the Federal Reserve, Treasury Department, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Federal Reserve Bank of New York have all warned that student borrowing may dampen consumption, depress the economy, limit credit creation or pose a threat to financial stability.

At $1.1 trillion, student debt eclipses all other forms of household debt, except for home mortgages. It’s also the only kind of consumer debt that has increased since the onset of the financial crisis, according to the New York Fed. Officials in Washington are worried that overly indebted student borrowers are unable to save enough to purchase a home, take out loans for new cars, start a business or save enough for their retirement. The Huffington Post

FACTS & FIGURES

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has warned of the “potential domino effects” to the economy of high student debt. A just-released report from the consumer watchdog highlights the ways this debt can deplete savings, limit spending, and shape choices about a graduate’s career path and where to live.

The average amount of student loan debt for the Class of 2011 was $26,600, a 5 percent increase from approximately $25,350 in 2010, according to The Project on Student Debt.

Student debt may reduce home ownership by limiting the borrower’s ability to qualify for a mortgage or even save for a down payment. This is troubling because first-time home ownership stimulates the economy and makes it possible for existing homeowners to “move-up” to another house. CNBC

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