Nancy Watzman

Nancy Watzman is an investigative journalist and a Denver-based consultant to the Sunlight Foundation. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including The Nation, The New Republic, and Harper's Magazine.

Recent Articles

Pleasing Sallie Mae

Since 1980 the average tuition at four-year colleges (in inflation-adjusted dollars) has doubled. Median income for families, however, has not kept pace, increasing just 12 percent over the same period. Student loans help families fill the cash gap. And a powerful industry has grown up to handle the loan business. Taxpayers subsidize the private student loan industry through federal guarantees of loans and other financial perks to encourage banks to loan students money. It's a cushy deal for the banks--there is no risk for them, thanks to Uncle Sam. But banks grumble about the fact that the government dictates the terms of these loans. (There is also a separate lending program in which students borrow directly from the government, which the banks hate even more because it cuts into their business.) In July 1998, when Congress debated the student loan program as part of a package of higher-education legislation, Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa made a modest proposal. Why not cut by 25...