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The American Council on Education has sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Les Aspin in support of President Clinton's announced intention to lift the ban on homosexuals in the military.

Signed by Robert H. Atwell, the A.C.E. president, the letter says removing the ban would help ease tensions on campuses stemming from the applicability of the ban to Reserve Officers Training Corps programs.

The federal restriction also conflicts with some state laws banning discrimination against homosexuals in state-supported institutions.

"The existing Department of Defense policy relating to gays and lesbians in the R.O.T.C. has placed many colleges and universities in an untenable position,'' Mr. Atwell wrote. "President Clinton's proposal to lift the ban would alleviate the current impasse and resolve the issue.''


Richard F. Rosser, the president of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, plans to resign this summer.

Mr. Rosser has served as NAICU president since September 1986. He previously spent 10 years as president of DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind.


The price of stock in the banking system's largest source of student-loan capital declined in the wake of President Clinton's announcement of a plan to have the Education Department lend money directly to students.

The cost of shares in the Student Loan Marketing Association fell from about 55 5/8 on Feb. 17, the day Mr. Clinton unveiled the direct-loan plan among other proposals to trim the federal deficit, to 47 1/4 on Feb. 18.

According to The Washington Post, investors placed so many orders to sell on the day after Mr. Clinton's speech that the New York Stock Exchange was forced to stop trading until enough buyers could be found.

By Feb. 25, the price of shares in Sallie Mae had risen back to 50 5/8.

The price of Sallie Mae stock was 67 5/8 per share on Jan. 4, the first day of trading in 1993, and over the last year shares sold for as much as 76.

A direct-loan program would harm Sallie Mae because it could no longer make profits from new loans.

A spokeswoman for Sallie Mae said last week that a direct-loan program would create a new federal bureaucracy.

The stock decline, she said, "is just reaction to the uncertainty.''

The Clinton Administration believes that a direct-loan system would stem loan defaults, which cost taxpayers $14.7 billion between fiscal years 1981 and 1991.

Studies have differed on whether a direct-loan system would save the government money.--M.P.

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