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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University April 16, 2007 | Vol. 36 No. 30
JHU Statement About Student Loan Xpress

On April 9, Johns Hopkins released the following statement about Student Loan Xpress, one of several institutions on a list of suggested lenders maintained by the university:

The Johns Hopkins University was contacted today by the parent company of Student Loan Xpress Inc. about consulting fees and travel expenses paid to a Johns Hopkins student financial aid official.

The parent company, CIT Group, Inc., told Johns Hopkins this morning that the official had been paid about $65,000 in consulting fees and $1,200 in travel expenses since 2002.

The official, Ellen Frishberg, director of student financial services at the university's Homewood campus, was placed this afternoon on paid administrative leave pending an inquiry by the university into the circumstances of the payments.

Student Loan Xpress does not handle Johns Hopkins University's guaranteed student loans. Johns Hopkins is a direct lending institution, meaning that it arranges federally guaranteed loans directly with student borrowers.

Student Loan Xpress, however, is one of several lenders on lists Johns Hopkins maintains of suggested lenders for the federal PLUS and private loan programs, which can provide educational loans to parents and graduate students beyond what is borrowed under the direct lending program.

CIT Group informed Johns Hopkins that it had paid approximately $65,000 in consulting fees to Frishberg since 2002. Of that, about $43,000 was in the form of direct payments and about $22,000 was in tuition payments for a doctoral program in which Frishberg was enrolled at another institution. Johns Hopkins understands that the consulting relationship ended in 2005.

Frishberg also serves on a Student Loan Xpress advisory board. Johns Hopkins understands that the travel expenses were reimbursed in regard to that service.

Later today, the university received a letter from the office of the attorney general of New York State requesting information. The university is committed to operating its financial aid program in compliance with the highest ethical standards and will, of course, cooperate with the attorney general's request.


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