Student-Loan Shenanigans

Allegations of kickbacks to colleges could spur Congress to rein in the $85 billion industry

Nina Berman / Redux for TIME

A future applicant plans to seek admission to, and aid from, Columbia University in New York on March 7, 2007.

April may indeed be the cruelest month. Families of college-bound students go hunting for financial aid at the height of tax season, and this year the money crunch is particularly vexing as headline after headline describes schools and lenders playing footsie over federal student loans. In an especially twinge-inducing bit of irony, at the same time that Columbia University is trying to help make higher education more accessible to low-income students--it's set to host a conference that addresses the topic this month--word broke that a financial-aid officer at the school, as well as at least two counterparts at other colleges, allegedly...

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