Through its Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF) program, first announced late last year, the Federal Reserve will lend up to $200 billion to spur consumer lending for autos, education, credit cards, and other things.

Under the program, the Fed will buy securities backed by different types of debt. The credit crunch--the worst since the 1930s--has made it much more difficult for people to obtain such financing, and those who do can be socked with high rates.

Last year, 60 private lenders provided $19 billion in loans to students. As of press time, 39 of those have stopped lending to students--and the


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