SLM Corporation (SLM), commonly known as "Sallie Mae," is the largest education finance company in the U.S., with total managed loans of $156 billion as of September 30, 2007. SLM originates, purchases, and manages higher education student loans principally through its participation in the Department of Education's (DOE) Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP). These loans were earlier guaranteed by the U.S. government, as SLM had received the DOE s "Exceptional Performance" designation since 2004 (the guarantee fell from 100% for claims filed after July 1, 2006). It is however, worth noting that all provisions relating to Exceptional Performer status, and the monetary benefits associated with it have been eliminated effective October 1, 2007, per new legislation.
In addition to FFELP loans, SLM originates and purchases private education loans (PELs), whereby SLM assumes the credit risk. SLM's other businesses include guarantor administrative services and default management / collection services for large federal agencies, credit card clients, and other holders of consumer debt. Following its recent acquisition of Upromise, SLM is also the largest administrator of direct-to-consumer 529 college savings plans.(Read more at Wikinvest )