For years, lenders could splash university names, logos, colors, and mascots on their student loan advertisements. The practice, known as co-branding, gave inexperienced borrowers the impression that the schools provided the loans. So Congress banned the practice in 2008.
But as I revealed in this May 2011 investigation for The Center for Public Integrity, co-branding can still go on, thanks to a mix of Congressional ambiguity, regulatory initiative and industry lobbying that created a significant loophole for private lenders. As a result, some students may still find themselves confused when they take out student loans.
The story was part of a series of investigations we did on the student loan industry at the Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism when I as a fellow there. My thanks to Keith Epstein and Ben Protess, who helped edit and publish the story with The Center for Public Integrity.