PHEAA Responds to the Auditor General's Announcement of a Performance Audit

    HARRISBURG, Pa., April 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Below is a letter
 from PHEAA President and CEO Dick Willey in response to a correspondence
 from Auditor General Jack Wagner announcing his plan to audit the
 Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency.
     Dear Mr. Wagner,
     We are in receipt of a letter from Stephanie Maurer, Deputy Auditor
 General for Performance Audits, dated April 17, 2006 initiating a special
 performance audit of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency
     As a federal student loan guarantor, a public corporation belonging to
 the Commonwealth and the administrator of state-funded student aid
 programs, PHEAA is Pennsylvania's most audited and publicly transparent
 government entity and we look forward to cooperating fully with your
 auditing team.
     PHEAA is typically audited more than 40 times every year by our
 regulating authorities and other entities. We have become very accustomed
 to the auditing environment and take advantage of audits to not only
 validate, monitor and account for our financial and compliance activities,
 but also as an effective tool to help us better manage and improve our
     Our business activities enable us to provide $200 million in free
 programs and services for Pennsylvania families in the current year and to
 have provided more than $1 billion to fund grants, scholarships, loan
 forgiveness and other programs over the last ten years. No other
 organization in America has generated more money to help more students than
 PHEAA without using any taxpayer resources.
     On behalf of our Board of Directors and the 2,600 men and women who
 work at PHEAA, I welcome your special performance audit and am confident
 that you will discover that PHEAA is an extremely well-run and efficient
 business operation that is intensely focused on helping Pennsylvania
 families achieve an affordable higher education. We also look forward to
 embracing any recommendations that could help us make our operations even
 more efficient and effective in our service of the Commonwealth.
     Respectfully yours,
     Richard E. Willey
     PHEAA powered by American Education Services
     PHEAA is the nation's leading nonprofit student aid organization. We
 devote our energy, resources and imagination to developing innovative ways
 to ease the financial burden of higher education for Pennsylvania's
 students, families and taxpayers.
     PHEAA's public service mission is powered by American Education
 Services (AES), our commercial business enterprise. The earnings generated
 by AES through loan guaranty, servicing and student aid processing systems
 fund our $72.5 million supplement to the State Grant Program, millions of
 dollars in free scholarships and loan forgiveness, award-winning online
 planning tools and the nation's lowest-cost student loans -- all at no cost
 to taxpayers.
     Our greatest gift isn't just the $200 million we provide to
 Pennsylvania each year; our greatest gift is the future teachers,
 caregivers and entrepreneurs we help create.
     For more information, please visit our Website at
     CONTACT: Keith New, 717-720-2509


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