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MOHELA forgives loans for 9,300 students

By AP/KWMU

St. Louis, MO – The Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority announced Thursday that it will ease the debt of 9,300 college freshmen. The move comes just a day after the state Senate approved a plan to sell off $350 million dollars in MOHELA assets to pay for university construction projects.

MOHELA plans to forgive $500 in loans for each freshman who has a Pell Grant and a MOHELA loan.

Critics of Governor Matt Blunt's plan to sell off some of those loans say it could harm the agency's mission to make college more affordable.

But MOHELA CEO Ray Bayer says yesterday's announcement on loan forgiveness was not just a one-time public relations move.

"This $4.6 million is in addition to $28 million we've forgiven in the past three years. The loan forgiveness programs will continue in the future," Bayer said. "We have funds set aside for them."

MOHELA officials say any asset sale will not affect those loan forgiveness programs. The Missouri House will soon take up the Governor's plan.

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