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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., said the Senate passed unanimously Friday legislation that is aimed at helping students, former students and national guard personnel affected by September's terrorist attacks, to settle their student loans.

Enzi cosponsored S. 1793, The Higher Education Relief Opportunities Act of 2001 with Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and others to provide the Secretary of Education with specific waiver authority to assist those affected by the terrorist attacks.

"In addition to the thousands who lost their lives in September's terrorist attacks, many more have lost jobs or suffered other economic hardships, putting many college graduates responsible for paying back student loans in a tight spot," said Enzi

Enzi said the waiver authority could be used to provide several possibilities for aid to students and to facilitate loan repayment through loan forgiveness and the re-examination of eligibility and administrative requirements. It could also be used to grant temporary relief to institutions of higher education, eligible lenders or guaranty agencies that have been directly affected by the national emergency.

The bill would also permit the Secretary of Education to make case-by-case decisions regarding loan repayment by national guard members or reservists called to active duty. The Secretary would also be able to offer tuition refunds or credits to help those called to active duty meet their loan repayment obligations.

The House is expected to take up the legislation this week.