Student loan funds not such a sure thing anymore

There was a time when you prepared for college, "signed up" for student loans, and were virtually assured that the funds would be there for you. The idea of having to pay back big loans wasn't appealing, but you knew your education was worth it. The checks came, you went to the financial aid office to get them, and all was well.

But it's not quite so easy anymore. There's news that Sallie Mae, the nation's largest provider of student loans, may stop making new loans, at least temporarily. The company says the loans are no longer profitable, so it can't afford to do them anymore.

Last week, a news report brought to light a new issue: Student loan checks that bounce. The Boston Globe reported on a student who deposited a $16,000 student loan check, started using the funds, and then was notified that the check bounced. The check bounced because The Education Resources Institute Inc., a nonprofit agency that guarantees student loans, filed bankruptcy. The student will still get his funds after some paperwork is sorted out, but it has likely been a scary process for him.