Encouraging more people to earn a college degree is a key part of the Obama administration's economic recovery plan--and the federal government is taking a two-pronged approach to shoring up student lending to ensure that cost isn't a barrier to a higher education.


But even as President Obama advances a plan to move the federal student loan program from the private to the public sector, a separate strategy to jump-start private student lending has been slow to take off.


Leading educational technology vendor Blackboard Inc. unveiled its first integrated instant-messaging service April 2 for students and professors who rely on class web

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