10-K 1 w30676e10vk.htm SLM CORPORATION FORM 10-K e10vk
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UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
 
 
Form 10-K
 
     
(Mark One)    
þ
  ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d)
OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
     
    For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2006 or
     
o
  TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 or 15(d) OF THE
SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
    For the transition period from          to          
 
Commission file numbers 001-13251
 
 
SLM Corporation
(Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in Its Charter)
 
     
Delaware   52-2013874
(State of Other Jurisdiction of
Incorporation or Organization)
  (I.R.S. Employer
Identification No.)
     
12061 Bluemont Way, Reston, Virginia   20190
(Address of Principal Executive Offices)   (Zip Code)
 
(703) 810-3000
(Registrant’s Telephone Number, Including Area Code)
 
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Common Stock, par value $.20 per share.
 
Name of Exchange on which Listed:
New York Stock Exchange
 
6.97% Cumulative Redeemable Preferred Stock, Series A, par value $.20 per share
Floating Rate Non-Cumulative Preferred Stock, Series B, par value $.20 per share
 
Name of Exchange on which Listed:
New York Stock Exchange
 
Medium Term Notes, Series A, CPI-Linked Notes due 2017
Medium Term Notes, Series A, CPI-Linked Notes due 2018
6% Senior Notes due December 15, 2043
 
Name of Exchange on which Listed:
New York Stock Exchange
 
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:
None.
 
 
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.  Yes þ     No o
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Act.  Yes o     No þ
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant: (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes þ      No o
Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K.  þ
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, or a non-accelerated filer. See definition of “accelerated filer and large accelerated filer” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large accelerated filer þ     Accelerated filer o     Non-accelerated filer o
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).  Yes o     No þ
The aggregate market value of voting stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant as of June 30, 2006 was approximately $21,566,572,748 (based on closing sale price of $52.92 per share as reported for the New York Stock Exchange — Composite Transactions).
As of January 31, 2007, there were 410,478,252 shares of voting common stock outstanding.
 
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Portions of the Proxy Statement relating to the registrant’s Annual Meeting of Shareholders scheduled to be held May 17, 2007 are incorporated by reference into Part III of this Report.
 


TABLE OF CONTENTS

GLOSSARY
PART I.
Item 1. Business
Item 1A. Risk Factors
Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments
Item 2. Properties
Item 3. Legal Proceedings
Item 4. Submission of Matters to a Vote of Security Holders
PART II.
Item 5. Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Item 6. Selected Financial Data
Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations
Item 7A. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk
Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data
Item 9. Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure
Item 9A. Controls and Procedures
Disclosure Controls and Procedures
Item 9B. Other Information
PART III.
Item 10. Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Guidance
Item 11. Executive Compensation
Item 12. Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters
Item 13. Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence
Item 14. Principal Accounting Fees and Services
PART IV.
Item 15. Exhibits, Financial Statement Schedules
SIGNATURES
CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS INDEX
MANAGEMENT’S ANNUAL REPORT ON INTERNAL CONTROL OVER FINANCIAL REPORTING
Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm
CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF INCOME
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CHANGES IN STOCKHOLDERS’ EQUITY
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS
SLM CORPORATION NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS (Dollars in thousands, except per share amounts, unless otherwise stated)
APPENDIX A
EX-23
EX-31.1
EX-31.2
EX-32.1
EX-32.2


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This report contains forward-looking statements and information that are based on management’s current expectations as of the date of this document. When used in this report, the words “anticipate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “intend” and “expect” and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks, uncertainties, assumptions and other factors that may cause the actual results to be materially different from those reflected in such forward-looking statements. These factors include, among others, changes in the terms of student loans and the educational credit marketplace arising from the implementation of applicable laws and regulations and from changes in these laws and regulations, which may reduce the volume, average term and costs of yields on student loans under the Federal Family Education Loan Program (“FFELP”) or result in loans being originated or refinanced under non-FFELP programs or may affect the terms upon which banks and others agree to sell FFELP loans to SLM Corporation, more commonly known as Sallie Mae, and its subsidiaries (collectively, “the Company”). In addition, a larger than expected increase in third party consolidations of our FFELP loans could materially adversely affect our results of operations. The Company could also be affected by changes in the demand for educational financing or in financing preferences of lenders, educational institutions, students and their families; incorrect estimates or assumptions by management in connection with the preparation of our consolidated financial statements; changes in the composition of our Managed FFELP and Private Education Loan portfolios; a significant decrease in our common stock price, which may result in counterparties terminating equity forward positions with us, which, in turn, could have a materially dilutive effect on our common stock; changes in the general interest rate environment and in the securitization markets for education loans, which may increase the costs or limit the availability of financings necessary to initiate, purchase or carry education loans; losses from loan defaults; changes in prepayment rates and credit spreads; and changes in the demand for debt management services and new laws or changes in existing laws that govern debt management services.


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GLOSSARY
 
Listed below are definitions of key terms that are used throughout this document. See also APPENDIX A, “FEDERAL FAMILY EDUCATION LOAN PROGRAM,” for a further discussion of the FFELP.
 
Borrower Benefits — Borrower Benefits are financial incentives offered to borrowers who qualify based on pre-determined qualifying factors, which are generally tied directly to making on-time monthly payments. The impact of Borrower Benefits is dependent on the estimate of the number of borrowers who will eventually qualify for these benefits and the amount of the financial benefit offered to the borrower. We occasionally change Borrower Benefits programs in both amount and qualification factors. These programmatic changes must be reflected in the estimate of the Borrower Benefits discount.
 
Consolidation Loan Rebate Fee — All holders of FFELP Consolidation Loans are required to pay to the U.S. Department of Education (“ED”) an annual 105 basis point Consolidation Loan Rebate Fee on all outstanding principal and accrued interest balances of FFELP Consolidation Loans purchased or originated after October 1, 1993, except for loans for which consolidation applications were received between October 1, 1998 and January 31, 1999, where the Consolidation Loan Rebate Fee is 62 basis points.
 
Constant Prepayment Rate (“CPR”) — A variable in life of loan estimates that measures the rate at which loans in the portfolio pay before their stated maturity. The CPR is directly correlated to the average life of the portfolio. CPR equals the percentage of loans that prepay annually as a percentage of the beginning of period balance.
 
“Core Earnings” — In accordance with the Rules and Regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), we prepare financial statements in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles in the United States of America (“GAAP”). In addition to evaluating the Company’s GAAP-based financial information, management evaluates the Company’s business segments on a basis that, as allowed under the Financial Accounting Standards Board’s (“FASB”) Statement of Financial Accounting Standards (“SFAS”) No. 131, “Disclosures about Segments of an Enterprise and Related Information,” differs from GAAP. We refer to management’s basis of evaluating our segment results as “Core Earnings” presentations for each business segment and we refer to these performance measures in our presentations with credit rating agencies and lenders. While “Core Earnings” results are not a substitute for reported results under GAAP, we rely on “Core Earnings” performance measures in operating each business segment because we believe these measures provide additional information regarding the operational and performance indicators that are most closely assessed by management.
 
Our “Core Earnings” performance measures are the primary financial performance measures used by management to evaluate performance and to allocate resources. Accordingly, financial information is reported to management on a “Core Earnings” basis by reportable segment, as these are the measures used regularly by our chief operating decision maker. Our “Core Earnings” performance measures are used in developing our financial plans and tracking results, and also in establishing corporate performance targets and determining incentive compensation. Management believes this information provides additional insight into the financial performance of the Company’s core business activities. Our “Core Earnings” performance measures are not defined terms within GAAP and may not be comparable to similarly titled measures reported by other companies. “Core Earnings” net income reflects only current period adjustments to GAAP net income. Accordingly, the Company’s “Core Earnings” presentation does not represent another comprehensive basis of accounting.
 
See “NOTE 18 TO THE CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS — Segment Reporting” and “MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS — BUSINESS SEGMENTS — Limitations of ‘Core Earnings’ ” for further discussion of the differences between “Core Earnings” and GAAP, as well as reconciliations between “Core Earnings” and GAAP.
 
In prior filings with the SEC of SLM Corporation’s Annual Report on Form 10-K and quarterly report on Form 10-Q, “Core Earnings” has been labeled as “ ‘Core’ net income” or “Managed net income” in certain instances.


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Direct Loans — Student loans originated directly by ED under the FDLP.
 
ED — The U.S. Department of Education.
 
Embedded Fixed Rate/Variable Rate Floor Income — Embedded Floor Income is Floor Income (see definition below) that is earned on off-balance sheet student loans that are in securitization trusts sponsored by us. At the time of the securitization, the value of Embedded Fixed Rate Floor Income is included in the initial valuation of the Residual Interest (see definition below) and the gain or loss on sale of the student loans. Embedded Floor Income is also included in the quarterly fair value adjustments of the Residual Interest.
 
Exceptional Performer (“EP”) Designation — The EP designation is determined by ED in recognition of a servicer meeting certain performance standards set by ED in servicing FFELP loans. Upon receiving the EP designation, the EP servicer receives 99 percent reimbursement on default claims (100 percent reimbursement on default claims filed before July 1, 2006) on federally guaranteed student loans for all loans serviced for a period of at least 270 days before the date of default and will no longer be subject to the three percent Risk Sharing (see definition below) on these loans. The EP servicer is entitled to receive this benefit as long as it remains in compliance with the required servicing standards, which are assessed on an annual and quarterly basis through compliance audits and other criteria. The annual assessment is in part based upon subjective factors which alone may form the basis for an ED determination to withdraw the designation. If the designation is withdrawn, the three percent Risk Sharing may be applied retroactively to the date of the occurrence that resulted in noncompliance.
 
FDLP — The William D. Ford Federal Direct Student Loan Program.
 
FFELP — The Federal Family Education Loan Program, formerly the Guaranteed Student Loan Program.
 
FFELP Consolidation Loans — Under both the Federal Family Education Loan Program (“FFELP”) and the William D. Ford Federal Direct Student Loan Program (“FDLP”), borrowers with eligible student loans may consolidate them into one note with one lender and convert the variable interest rates on the loans being consolidated into a fixed rate for the life of the loan. The new note is considered a FFELP Consolidation Loan. Typically a borrower can consolidate his student loans only once unless the borrower has another eligible loan to consolidate with the existing FFELP Consolidation Loan. The borrower rate on a FFELP Consolidation Loan is fixed for the term of the loan and is set by the weighted average interest rate of the loans being consolidated, rounded up to the nearest 1/8th of a percent, not to exceed 8.25 percent. In low interest rate environments, FFELP Consolidation Loans provide an attractive refinancing opportunity to certain borrowers because they allow borrowers to consolidate variable rate loans into a long-term fixed rate loan. Holders of FFELP Consolidation Loans are eligible to earn interest under the Special Allowance Payment (“SAP”) formula (see definition below).
 
FFELP Stafford and Other Student Loans — Education loans to students or parents of students that are guaranteed or reinsured under the FFELP. The loans are primarily Stafford loans but also include PLUS and HEAL loans.
 
Fixed Rate Floor Income — We refer to Floor Income (see definition below) associated with student loans whose borrower rate is fixed to term (primarily FFELP Consolidation Loans and Stafford Loans originated on or after July 1, 2006) as Fixed Rate Floor Income.
 
Floor Income — FFELP student loans generally earn interest at the higher of a floating rate based on the Special Allowance Payment or SAP formula (see definition below) set by ED and the borrower rate, which is fixed over a period of time. We generally finance our student loan portfolio with floating rate debt over all interest rate levels. In low and/or declining interest rate environments, when the fixed borrower rate is higher than the rate produced by the SAP formula, our student loans earn at a fixed rate while the interest on our floating rate debt continues to decline. In these interest rate environments, we earn additional spread income that we refer to as Floor Income. Depending on the type of the student loan and when it was originated, the borrower rate is either fixed to term or is reset to a market rate each July 1. As a result, for loans where the borrower rate is fixed to term, we may earn Floor Income for an extended period of time, and for those loans


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where the borrower interest rate is reset annually on July 1, we may earn Floor Income to the next reset date. In accordance with new legislation enacted in 2006, lenders are required to rebate Floor Income to ED for all new FFELP loans disbursed on or after April 1, 2006.
 
The following example shows the mechanics of Floor Income for a typical fixed rate FFELP Consolidation Loan (with a commercial paper-based SAP spread of 2.64 percent):
 
         
Fixed Borrower Rate
    7.25 %
SAP Spread over Commercial Paper Rate
    (2.64 )%
         
Floor Strike Rate(1)
    4.61 %
         
 
 
  (1)  The interest rate at which the underlying index (Treasury bill or commercial paper) plus the fixed SAP spread equals the fixed borrower rate. Floor Income is earned anytime the interest rate of the underlying index declines below this rate.
 
Based on this example, if the quarterly average commercial paper rate is over 4.61 percent, the holder of the student loan will earn at a floating rate based on the SAP formula, which in this example is a fixed spread to commercial paper of 2.64 percent. On the other hand, if the quarterly average commercial paper rate is below 4.61 percent, the SAP formula will produce a rate below the fixed borrower rate of 7.25 percent and the loan holder earns at the borrower rate of 7.25 percent. The difference between the fixed borrower rate and the lender’s expected yield based on the SAP formula is referred to as Floor Income. Our student loan assets are generally funded with floating rate debt, so when student loans are earning at the fixed borrower rate, decreases in interest rates may increase Floor Income.
 
  Graphic Depiction of Floor Income:
 
(GRAPH)
 
Floor Income Contracts — We enter into contracts with counterparties under which, in exchange for an upfront fee representing the present value of the Floor Income that we expect to earn on a notional amount of underlying student loans being economically hedged, we will pay the counterparties the Floor Income earned on that notional amount over the life of the Floor Income Contract. Specifically, we agree to pay the counterparty the difference, if positive, between the fixed borrower rate less the SAP (see definition below) spread and the average of the applicable interest rate index on that notional amount, regardless of the actual balance of underlying student loans, over the life of the contract. The contracts generally do not extend over the life of the underlying student loans. This contract effectively locks in the amount of Floor Income we will earn over the period of the contract. Floor Income Contracts are not considered effective hedges under SFAS No. 133, “Accounting for Derivative Instruments and Hedging Activities,” and each quarter we must record the change in fair value of these contracts through income.


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GSE — The Student Loan Marketing Association was a federally chartered government-sponsored enterprise and wholly owned subsidiary of SLM Corporation that was dissolved under the terms of the Privatization Act (see definition below) on December 29, 2004.
 
HEA — The Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended.
 
Managed Basis — We generally analyze the performance of our student loan portfolio on a Managed Basis, under which we view both on-balance sheet student loans and off-balance sheet student loans owned by the securitization trusts as a single portfolio, and the related on-balance sheet financings are combined with off-balance sheet debt. When the term Managed is capitalized in this document, it is referring to Managed Basis.
 
Preferred Channel Originations — Preferred Channel Originations are comprised of: 1) student loans that are originated by lenders with forward purchase commitment agreements with Sallie Mae and are committed for sale to Sallie Mae, such that we either own them from inception or, in most cases, acquire them soon after origination, and 2) loans that are originated by internally marketed Sallie Mae brands.
 
Preferred Lender List — To streamline the student loan process, most higher education institutions select a small number of lenders to recommend to their students and parents. This recommended list is referred to as the Preferred Lender List.
 
Private Education Loans — Education loans to students or parents of students that are not guaranteed or reinsured under the FFELP or any other federal or private student loan program. Private Education Loans include loans for traditional higher education, undergraduate and graduate degrees, and for alternative education, such as career training, private kindergarten through secondary education schools and tutorial schools. Traditional higher education loans have repayment terms similar to FFELP loans, whereby repayments begin after the borrower leaves school. Repayment for alternative education or career training loans generally begins immediately.
 
Privatization Act — The Student Loan Marketing Association Reorganization Act of 1996.
 
Reconciliation Legislation — The Higher Education Reconciliation Act of 2005, which reauthorized the student loan programs of the HEA and generally became effective as of July 1, 2006.
 
Residual Interest — When we securitize student loans, we retain the right to receive cash flows from the student loans sold to trusts we sponsor in excess of amounts needed to pay servicing, derivative costs (if any), other fees, and the principal and interest on the bonds backed by the student loans. The Residual Interest, which may also include reserve and other cash accounts, is the present value of these future expected cash flows, which includes the present value of Embedded Fixed Rate Floor Income described above. We value the Residual Interest at the time of sale of the student loans to the trust and at the end of each subsequent quarter.
 
Retained Interest — The Retained Interest includes the Residual Interest (defined above) and servicing rights (as the Company retains the servicing responsibilities).
 
Risk Sharing — When a FFELP loan defaults, the federal government guarantees 97 percent of the principal balance (98 percent on loans disbursed before July 1, 2006) plus accrued interest and the holder of the loan generally must absorb the three percent (two percent before July 1, 2006) not guaranteed as a Risk Sharing loss on the loan. FFELP student loans originated after October 1, 1993 are subject to Risk Sharing on loan default claim payments unless the default results from the borrower’s death, disability or bankruptcy. FFELP loans serviced by a servicer that has EP designation (see definition above) from ED are subject to one-percent Risk Sharing for claims filed on or after July 1, 2006.
 
Special Allowance Payment (“SAP”) — FFELP student loans originated prior to April 1, 2006 generally earn interest at the greater of the borrower rate or a floating rate determined by reference to the average of the applicable floating rates (91-day Treasury bill rate or commercial paper) in a calendar quarter, plus a fixed spread that is dependent upon when the loan was originated and the loan’s repayment status. If the resulting floating rate exceeds the borrower rate, ED pays the difference directly to us. This payment is referred to as the Special Allowance Payment or SAP and the formula used to determine the floating rate is the SAP


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formula. We refer to the fixed spread to the underlying index as the SAP spread. For loans disbursed after April 1, FFELP loans effectively only earn at the SAP rate, as the excess interest earned when the borrower rate exceeds the SAP rate (Floor Income) must be refunded to ED.
 
Variable rate PLUS Loans and SLS Loans earn SAP only if the variable rate, which is reset annually, exceeds the applicable maximum borrower rate. For PLUS loans disbursed on or after January 1, 2000, this limitation on SAP was repealed effective April 1, 2006.
 
Title IV Programs and Title IV Loans — Student loan programs created under Title IV of the HEA, including the FFELP and the FDLP, and student loans originated under those programs, respectively.
 
Variable Rate Floor Income — For FFELP Stafford student loans whose borrower interest rate resets annually on July 1, we may earn Floor Income or Embedded Floor Income (see definitions above) based on a calculation of the difference between the borrower rate and the then current interest rate. We refer to this as Variable Rate Floor Income because Floor Income is earned only through the next reset date.
 
Wholesale Consolidation Channel — During 2006, we implemented a new loan acquisition strategy under which we began purchasing a significant amount of FFELP Consolidation Loans, primarily via the spot market, which augments our traditional FFELP Consolidation Loan origination process. We refer to this new loan acquisition strategy as our Wholesale Consolidation Channel. FFELP Consolidation Loans acquired through this channel are considered incremental volume to our core acquisition channels, which are focused on the retail marketplace with an emphasis on our brand strategy.
 
Wind-Down — The dissolution of the GSE under the terms of the Privatization Act (see definitions above).


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PART I.
 
Item 1.   Business
 
INTRODUCTION TO SLM CORPORATION
 
SLM Corporation, more commonly known as Sallie Mae, is the market leader in education finance. SLM Corporation is a holding company that operates through a number of subsidiaries. (References in this Annual Report to “the Company” refer to SLM Corporation and its subsidiaries). At December 31, 2006, we had approximately 11,000 employees.
 
Our primary business is to originate and hold student loans by providing funding, delivery and servicing support for education loans in the United States through our participation in the Federal Family Education Loan Program (“FFELP”) and through offering non-federally guaranteed Private Education Loans. We primarily market our FFELP Stafford and Private Education Loans through on-campus financial aid offices. In recent years, the industry has moved toward a direct-to-consumer marketing model as evidenced by the surge in FFELP Consolidation Loans which are marketed directly to FFELP Stafford borrowers. We have also expanded our direct-to-consumer marketing of Private Education Loans.
 
We have used both internal growth and strategic acquisitions to attain our leadership position in the education finance marketplace. Our sales force, which delivers our products on campuses across the country, is the largest in the student loan industry. The core of our marketing strategy is to promote our on-campus brands, which generate student loan originations through our Preferred Channel. Loans generated through our Preferred Channel are more profitable than loans acquired through other acquisition channels because we own them earlier in the student loan’s life and generally incur lower costs to acquire such loans. We have built brand leadership through the Sallie Mae name, the brands of our subsidiaries and those of our lender partners. These sales and marketing efforts are supported by the largest and most diversified servicing capabilities in the industry, providing an unmatched array of services to financial aid offices.
 
We have expanded into a number of fee-based businesses, most notably, our Debt Management Operations (“DMO”) business, which is presented as a distinct segment in accordance with the Financial Accounting Standards Board’s (“FASB”) Statement of Financial Accounting Standards (“SFAS”) No. 131, “Disclosures about Segments of an Enterprise and Related Information.” Our DMO business provides a wide range of accounts receivable and collections services including student loan default aversion services, defaulted student loan portfolio management services, contingency collections services for student loans and other asset classes, and accounts receivable management and collection for purchased portfolios of receivables that are delinquent or have been charged off by their original creditors. We also purchase and manage portfolios of sub-performing and non-performing mortgage loans.
 
We also earn fees for a number of services including student loan and guarantee servicing, 529 Savings Plan Administration services, and for providing processing capabilities and information technology to educational institutions. We also operate a consumer savings network through Upromise, Inc. (“Upromise”) loyalty service.
 
In December 2004, we completed the Wind-Down of the GSE through the defeasance of all remaining GSE debt obligations and dissolution of the GSE’s federal charter. The liquidity provided to the Company by the GSE has been replaced primarily by securitizations. In addition to securitizations, we have access to a number of additional sources of liquidity including an asset-backed commercial paper program, unsecured revolving credit facilities, and other unsecured corporate debt and equity security issuances.
 
On August 22, 2006, the Company completed the acquisition of Upromise. Upromise is the leading provider of saving for college programs. Through its Upromise affiliates, the company administers 529 college-savings plans and assists its members with automatic savings through rebates on everyday purchases.


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BUSINESS SEGMENTS
 
We provide our array of credit products and related services to the higher education and consumer credit communities and others through two primary business segments: our Lending business segment and our DMO business segment. These defined business segments operate in distinct business environments and have unique characteristics and face different opportunities and challenges. They are considered reportable segments under the FASB’s SFAS No. 131, “Disclosures about Segments of an Enterprise and Related Information,” based on quantitative thresholds applied to the Company’s financial statements. In addition, within our Corporate and Other business segment, we provide a number of complementary products and services to financial aid offices and schools that are managed within smaller operating segments, the most prominent being our Guarantor Servicing and Loan Servicing businesses. In accordance with SFAS No. 131, we include in Note 18 to our consolidated financial statements, “Segment Reporting,” separate financial information about our operating segments.
 
Management, including the Company’s chief operating decision maker, evaluates the performance of the Company’s operating segments based on their profitability as measured by “Core Earnings.” Accordingly, we provide information regarding the Company’s reportable segments in this report based on “Core Earnings.” “Core Earnings” are the primary financial performance measures used by management to develop the Company’s financial plans, track results, and establish corporate performance targets and incentive compensation. While “Core Earnings” are not a substitute for reported results under generally accepted accounting principles in the United States (“GAAP”), the Company relies on “Core Earnings” in operating its business because “Core Earnings” permit management to make meaningful period-to-period comparisons of the operational and performance indicators that are most closely assessed by management. Management believes this information provides additional insight into the financial performance of the core business activities of our operating segments. (See “MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS — BUSINESS SEGMENTS” for a detailed discussion of our “Core Earnings,” including a table that summarizes the pre-tax differences between “Core Earnings” and GAAP by business segment and the limitations to this presentation.)
 
We generate most of our earnings in our Lending business from the spread between the yield we receive on our Managed portfolio of student loans and the cost of funding these loans less the provisions for loan losses. We incur servicing, selling and administrative expenses in providing these products and services, and provide for loan losses. On our income statement, prepared in accordance with GAAP, this spread income is reported as “net interest income” for on-balance sheet loans, and as “gains on student loan securitizations” and “servicing and securitization revenue” for off-balance sheet loans in which we maintain a Retained Interest. Total “Core Earnings” revenues for this segment were $2.4 billion in 2006.
 
In our DMO business segment, we provide a wide range of accounts receivable and collections services including student loan default aversion services, defaulted student loan portfolio management services, contingency collections services for student loans and other asset classes, and accounts receivable management and collection for purchased portfolios of receivables that are delinquent or have been charged off by their original creditors as well as sub-performing and non-performing mortgage loans. In the purchased receivables business, we focus on a variety of consumer debt types with emphasis on charged-off credit card receivables and distressed mortgage receivables. We purchase these portfolios at a discount to their face value, and then use both our internal collection operations coupled with third party collection agencies to maximize the recovery on these receivables. In 2006, we began purchasing charged-off consumer receivables in Europe through our United Kingdom subsidiary, Arrow Global Ltd.
 
LENDING BUSINESS SEGMENT
 
In our Lending business segment, we originate and acquire both federally guaranteed student loans, which are administered by the U.S. Department of Education (“ED”), and Private Education Loans, which are not federally guaranteed. Borrowers use Private Education Loans primarily to supplement guaranteed loans in meeting the cost of education. We manage the largest portfolio of FFELP and Private Education Loans in the student loan industry, serving nearly 10 million student and parent customers through our ownership and


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management of $142.1 billion in Managed student loans as of December 31, 2006, of which $119.5 billion or 84 percent are federally insured. We serve a diverse range of clients that includes over 6,000 educational and financial institutions and state agencies. We are the largest servicer of FFELP student loans, servicing a portfolio of $115.2 billion of FFELP student loans. We also service $25 billion of Private Education Loans as of December 31, 2006. We also market student loans, both federal and private, directly to the consumer. In addition to education lending, we also originate mortgage and consumer loans with the intent of selling most of these loans. In 2006 we originated $1.6 billion in mortgage and consumer loans. Our mortgage and consumer loan portfolio totaled $612 million at December 31, 2006, of which $119 million are mortgages in the held-for-sale portfolio.
 
Student Lending Marketplace
 
The following chart shows the estimated sources of funding for attending two-year and four-year colleges for the academic year (“AY”) ending June 30, 2007 (AY 2006-2007). Approximately 42 percent of the funding comes from federally guaranteed student loans and Private Education Loans. The parent/student contributions come from savings/investments, current period earnings and other loans obtained without going through the normal financial aid process.
 
Sources of Funding for College Attendance — AY 2006-2007(1)
 
Total Projected Cost — $229 Billion
(dollars in billions)
 
(GRAPHIC)
 
 
           (1) Source: Based on estimates by Octameron Associates, “Don’t Miss Out,” 30th Edition, by College Board, “2006 Trends in Student Aid” and Sallie Mae. Includes tuition, room, board, transportation and miscellaneous costs for two and four year college degree-granting programs.
 
  Federally Guaranteed Student Lending Programs
 
There are two competing programs that provide student loans where the ultimate credit risk lies with the federal government: the FFELP and the Federal Direct Lending Program (“FDLP”). FFELP loans are provided by private sector institutions and are ultimately guaranteed by ED. FDLP loans are funded by taxpayers and provided to borrowers directly by ED on terms similar to student loans in the FFELP. In addition to these government guaranteed programs, Private Education Loans are made by financial institutions where the lender or holder assumes the credit risk of the borrower.
 
For the federal fiscal year (“FFY”) ended September 30, 2006 (FFY 2006), ED estimated that the FFELP’s market share in federally guaranteed student loans was 79 percent, up from 77 percent in FFY 2005.


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(See “LENDING BUSINESS SEGMENT — Competition.”) Total FFELP and FDLP volume for FFY 2006 grew by seven percent, with the FFELP portion growing nine percent.
 
The Higher Education Act (the “HEA”) includes regulations that cover every aspect of the servicing of a federally guaranteed student loan, including communications with borrowers, loan originations and default aversion. Failure to service a student loan properly could jeopardize the guarantee on federal student loans. This guarantee generally covers 98 and 97 percent of the student loan’s principal and accrued interest for loans disbursed before and after July 1, 2006, respectively, except when the servicer has been designated by ED as an Exceptional Performer (“EP”) in which case the guarantee covers 99 percent. In the case of death, disability or bankruptcy of the borrower, the guarantee covers 100 percent of the student loan’s principal and accrued interest.
 
Effective for a renewable one-year period beginning in October 2005, the Company’s loan servicing division, Sallie Mae Servicing, was designated as an EP by ED in recognition of meeting certain performance standards set by ED in servicing FFELP loans. As a result of this designation, the Company received 100 percent reimbursement through June 30, 2006 and 99 percent reimbursement on and after July 1, 2006 on default claims on federally guaranteed student loans that are serviced by Sallie Mae Servicing for a period of at least 270 days before the date of default. The Company is entitled to receive this benefit as long as the Company remains in compliance with the required servicing standards, which are assessed on an annual and quarterly basis through compliance audits and other criteria. The EP designation applies to all FFELP loans that are serviced by the Company as well as default claims on federally guaranteed student loans that the Company owns but are serviced by other service providers with the EP designation. As of February 28, 2007, ED has not renewed Sallie Mae Servicing as an EP pending resolution of outstanding issues with ED concerning certain fees we charge certain borrowers. The Company believes these fees are charged consistent with prior ED guidance. Until the outstanding issues with ED are resolved, Sallie Mae Servicing’s EP designation remains in effect.
 
FFELP student loans are guaranteed by state agencies or non-profit companies called guarantors, with ED providing reinsurance to the guarantor. Guarantors are responsible for performing certain functions necessary to ensure the program’s soundness and accountability. These functions include reviewing loan application data to detect and prevent fraud and abuse and to assist lenders in preventing default by providing counseling to borrowers. Generally, the guarantor is responsible for ensuring that loans are being serviced in compliance with the requirements of the HEA. When a borrower defaults on a FFELP loan, we submit a claim form to the guarantor who reimburses us for principal and accrued interest subject to the Risk Sharing and EP criteria discussed above (See APPENDIX A, “FEDERAL FAMILY EDUCATION LOAN PROGRAM,” to this document for a more complete description of the role of guarantors.)
 
  Private Education Loan Products
 
In addition to federal loan programs, which have statutory limits on annual and total borrowing, we sponsor a variety of Private Education Loan programs and purchase loans made under such programs to bridge the gap between the cost of education and a student’s resources. The majority of our higher education Private Education Loans are made in conjunction with a FFELP Stafford loan, so they are marketed to schools through the same marketing channels — and by the same sales force — as FFELP loans. In 2004, we expanded our direct-to-consumer loan marketing channel with our Tuition Answersm loan program under which we originate and purchase loans outside of the traditional financial aid process. We also originate and purchase Private Education Loans marketed by our SLM Financial subsidiary to career training, technical and trade schools, tutorial and learning centers, and private kindergarten through secondary education schools. These loans are primarily made at schools not eligible for Title IV loans. Private Education Loans are discussed in more detail below.
 
  Drivers of Growth in the Student Loan Industry
 
The growth in our Managed student loan portfolio is driven by the growth in the overall student loan marketplace, as well as by our own market share gains. Rising enrollment and college costs have resulted in a


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doubling in the size of the federally insured student loan market over the last 10 years. Student loan originations grew from $17.8 billion in FFY 1996 to $47.3 billion in FFY 2006.
 
According to the College Board, tuition and fees at four-year public institutions and four-year private institutions have increased 51 percent and 32 percent, respectively, in constant, inflation-adjusted dollars, since AY 1996-1997. Under the FFELP, there are limits to the amount students can borrow each academic year. The first loan limit increases since 1992 will be implemented July 1, 2007 when freshman and sophomore limits will be increased to $3,500 and $4,500 from $2,625 and $3,500, respectively. The fact that guaranteed student loan limits have not kept pace with tuition increases has driven more students and parents to Private Education Loans to meet an increasing portion of their education financing needs. Loans — both federal and private — as a percentage of total student aid have increased from 55 percent of total student aid in AY 1996-1997 to 56 percent in AY 2005-2006. Private Education Loans accounted for 20 percent of total student loans — both federally guaranteed and Private Education Loans — in AY 2005-2006, compared to six percent in AY 1996-1997.
 
ED predicts that the college-age population will increase approximately 13 percent from 2006 to 2015. Demand for education credit will also increase due to the rise in non-traditional students (those not attending college directly from high school) and adult education.
 
The following charts show the projected enrollment and average tuition and fee growth for four-year public and private colleges and universities.
 
Projected Enrollment
 
 
Source: National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
 
Cost of Attendance(1)
Cumulative % Increase from AY 1996-1997
 
 
Source: The College Board
 
(1) Cost of attendance is in current dollars and includes
tuition, fees and on-campus room and board.


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Sallie Mae’s Lending Business
 
Our primary marketing point-of-contact is the school’s financial aid office where we focus on delivering flexible and cost-effective products to the school and its students. Our sales force, which works with financial aid administrators on a daily basis, is the largest in the industry and currently markets the following internal lender brands: Academic Management Services (“AMS”), Nellie Mae, Sallie Mae Educational Trust, SLM Financial, Student Loan Funding Resources (“SLFR”), Southwest Student Services (“Southwest”) and Student Loan Finance Association (“SLFA”). We also actively market the loan guarantee of United Student Aid Funds, Inc. (“USA Funds”) and its affiliate, Northwest Education Loan Association (“NELA”), through a separate sales force.
 
We acquire student loans from three principal sources:
 
  •  our Preferred Channel;
 
  •  FFELP Consolidation Loans; and
 
  •  strategic acquisitions.
 
Over the past several years, we have successfully changed our business model from a wholesale purchaser of loans on the secondary market to a direct origination model where we control the front-end origination process. This provides us with higher yielding loans with lower acquisition costs that have a longer duration because we originate or purchase them at or immediately after full disbursement.
 
In 2006, we originated $23.4 billion in student loans through our Preferred Channel, of which a total of $13.1 billion or 56 percent was originated through our internal lending brands. The mix of Preferred Channel Originations marks a significant shift from the past, when our internal lending brands were the smallest component of our Preferred Channel Originations. Internal lending brand growth is a key factor to our long-term market penetration. In 2006, internal lending brands grew 43 percent to $13.1 billion. This positions us to control our future volume as well as the costs to originate new assets. Our internal lending brand loans are our most valuable loans because we do not pay a premium other than to ED to originate them. Our strategic lender partners continue to represent an important loan acquisition channel for assets flowing through loan purchase commitments as well as assets purchased in the retail secondary markets.
 
Our Preferred Channel Originations growth has been fueled by both new business from schools leaving the FDLP or other FFELP lending relationships, same school sales growth, and growth in the for-profit sector. Since 1999, we have partnered with over 300 schools that have chosen to return to the FFELP from the FDLP. Our FFELP originations at these schools totaled over $2.1 billion in 2006. In addition to winning new schools, we have also forged broader relationships with many of our existing school clients. Our FFELP and private originations at for-profit schools have grown faster than at traditional higher education schools due to enrollment trends as well as our increased market share of lending to these institutions.
 
  Consolidation Loans
 
Over the past three years, we have seen a surge in consolidation activity as a result of aggressive marketing and historically low interest rates. This growth has contributed to the changing composition of our student loan portfolio. FFELP Consolidation Loans earn a lower yield than FFELP Stafford Loans due primarily to the Consolidation Loan Rebate Fee. This negative impact is somewhat mitigated by the longer average life of FFELP Consolidation Loans. We have made a substantial investment in consolidation marketing to protect our asset base and grow our portfolio, including targeted direct mail campaigns and web-based initiatives for borrowers. Weighing against this investment is a recent practice by which some FFELP lenders use the Direct Lending program as a pass-through vehicle to circumvent the statutory prohibition on refinancing an existing FFELP Consolidation Loan in cases where the borrower is not eligible to consolidate his or her loans. This practice has since been prohibited under the student loan Reconciliation Legislation, but had a negative impact on our portfolio through the third quarter of 2006. In 2006, these developments resulted in a net Managed portfolio loss of $3.1 billion from consolidation activity. During 2006, $15.8 billion of FFELP Stafford loans in our Managed loan portfolio consolidated either with us ($11.3 billion) or with other


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lenders ($4.5 billion). FFELP Consolidation Loans now represent 71 percent of our on-balance sheet federally guaranteed student loan portfolio and over 66 percent of our Managed federally guaranteed portfolio.
 
During 2006, we implemented a new loan acquisition strategy under which we began purchasing a significant amount of FFELP Consolidation Loans, primarily via the spot market, which augments our traditional FFELP Consolidation Loan origination process. We refer to this new loan acquisition strategy as our Wholesale Consolidation Channel. The decision to implement this strategy stems from the repeal of the Single Holder Rule in 2006 which allowed the industry to compete for student loans held by one lender. This has caused many originators to sell loans sooner and more frequently. At December 31, 2006, Wholesale Consolidation Loans totaled $3.6 billion.
 
The increased activity in FFELP Consolidation Loans has led to demand for the consolidation of Private Education loans. Private Education Consolidation Loans provide an attractive refinancing opportunity to certain borrowers because they allow borrowers to lower their monthly payments and extend the life of the loan. During 2006, we internally consolidated $300 million of our Managed Private Education loans, and added net $50 million in new volume.
 
  GradPLUS
 
The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 expanded the existing Federal PLUS loan to graduate and professional students (“GradPLUS Loans”). Previously, PLUS loans were restricted to parents of dependent, undergraduate students.
 
GradPLUS Loans have a lower rate of interest than our Private Education Loans and they allow graduate and professional students to borrow up to the full cost of their education (tuition, room and board), less other financial aid received. We therefore expect that over time GradPLUS Loans will supplant a significant amount of our Private Education Loans to graduate and professional students. In 2006, GradPLUS loans represented one percent of Preferred Channel Originations or $246 million.
 
  Private Education Loans
 
The rising cost of education has led students and their parents to seek additional private credit sources to finance their education. Private Education Loans are often packaged as supplemental or companion products to FFELP loans and priced and underwritten competitively to provide additional value for our school relationships. In certain situations, a for-profit school shares the borrower credit risk. Over the last several years, the growth of Private Education Loans has accelerated due to tuition increasing faster than the rate of inflation coupled with stagnant FFELP lending limits. This rapid growth combined with the relatively higher spreads has led to Private Education Loans contributing a higher percentage of our net interest margin in each of the last four years. We expect this trend to continue in the foreseeable future. In 2006, Private Education Loans contributed 23 percent of the overall “Core Earnings” net interest income after provisions, up from 17 percent in 2005. The Higher Education Reconciliation Act of 2005 increased FFELP loan limits in AY 2006-2007. This, along with the introduction of GradPLUS Loans discussed above, will reduce the rate of growth in Private Education Loans in the future. We believe this loss of future Private Education Loan volume for graduate students will be replaced by an increase in federally insured loans.
 
Since we bear the full credit risk for Private Education Loans, they are underwritten and priced according to credit risk based upon standardized consumer credit scoring criteria. We mitigate some of this credit risk by providing price and eligibility incentives for students to obtain a credit-worthy co-borrower, and approximately 50 percent of our Private Education Loans have a co-borrower. Due to their higher risk profile, Private Education Loans earn higher spreads than their FFELP loan counterparts. In 2006, Private Education Loans earned an average “Core Earnings” spread, before provisions for loan losses, of 5.13 percent versus an average “Core Earnings” spread of 1.26 percent for FFELP loans, excluding the impact of the Wholesale Consolidation portfolio.
 
Our largest Private Education Loan program is the Signature Loan®, which is offered to undergraduates and graduates through the financial aid offices of colleges and universities and packaged with traditional


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FFELP loans. We also offer specialized loan products to graduate and professional students primarily through our MBALoans®, LAWLOANS® and MEDLOANSsm programs. Generally, these loans do not require borrowers to begin repaying their loans until after graduation and allow a grace period from six to nine months.
 
In the third quarter of 2004 we began to offer Tuition Answersm loans directly to the consumer through targeted direct mail campaigns and web-based initiatives. Under the Tuition Answer loan program, creditworthy parents, sponsors and students may borrow between $1,500 and $40,000 per year to cover any college-related expense. No school certification is required, although a borrower must provide enrollment documentation. At December 31, 2006, we had $1.9 billion of Tuition Answer loans outstanding.
 
We also offer alternative Private Education Loans for information technology, cosmetology, mechanics, medical/dental/lab, culinary and broadcasting. On average, these career training programs typically last fewer than 12 months. Generally, these loans require the borrower to begin repaying the loan immediately; however, students can opt to make relatively small payments while enrolled. At December 31, 2006, we had $2.3 billion of career training loans outstanding.
 
  Acquisitions
 
We have acquired several companies in the student loan industry that have increased our sales and marketing capabilities, added significant new brands and greatly enhanced our product offerings. The following table provides a timeline of strategic acquisitions that have played a major role in the growth of our Lending business.
 
Sallie Mae Timeline — Student Lending
 
(GRAPHIC)
 
Financing
 
We fund our operations through the issuance of student loan asset-backed securities (securitizations) and unsecured debt securities. We issue these securities in both the domestic and overseas capital markets using both public offerings and private placements. The major objective when financing our business is to find low cost financing that also minimizes interest rate risk by matching the interest rate and reset characteristics of our Managed assets and liabilities, generally on a pooled basis, to the extent practicable. As part of this process, we use derivative financial instruments extensively to reduce our interest rate and foreign currency exposure. This helps in stabilizing our student loan spread in various interest rate environments. We are always looking for ways to minimize funding costs and to provide liquidity for our student loan acquisitions. To that end, we are continually expanding and diversifying our pool of investors by establishing debt programs in multiple markets that appeal to varied investor bases and by educating potential investors about our business. Finally, we take appropriate steps to ensure sufficient liquidity by financing in multiple markets, which include the institutional, retail, floating-rate, fixed-rate, unsecured, asset-backed, domestic and international markets.


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Securitization is currently and is likely to continue to be our principal source of financing. We expect approximately 75 percent of our funding needs in 2007 will be satisfied by securitizing our loan assets and issuing asset-backed securities.
 
Sallie Mae Bank
 
On November 3, 2005, we announced that the Utah Department of Financial Institutions approved our application for an industrial bank charter. Beginning in February and August 2006, Sallie Mae Bank began funding and originating Private Education Loans and FFELP Consolidation Loans, respectively, made by Sallie Mae to students and families nationwide. This allows us to capture the full economics of these loans from origination. In addition, the industrial bank charter allows us to expand the products and services we can offer to students and families. In addition to using Sallie Mae Bank to fund and originate Private Education Loans, we expect to continue to originate a significant portion of our Private Education Loans through our strategic lending partners. In addition, we have deposited custodial funds from AMS and Upromise in Sallie Mae Bank. These funds are used for low cost financing for Sallie Mae Bank.
 
Competition
 
Our primary competitor for federally guaranteed student loans is the FDLP, which in its first four years of existence (FFYs 1994-1997) grew market share from four percent in FFY 1994 to a peak of 34 percent in FFY 1997, but has steadily declined since then to a 21 percent market share in FFY 2006 for the total federally sponsored student loan market. We also face competition for both federally guaranteed and non-guaranteed student loans from a variety of financial institutions including banks, thrifts and state-supported secondary markets. In addition, we face competition for FFELP Consolidation Loans from a number of direct-to-consumer firms that entered the market for FFELP Consolidation Loans over the past few years in response to the increased borrower demand for FFELP Consolidation Loans and low barriers to entry (see “Risk Factors — GENERAL”). Our FFY 2006 FFELP Preferred Channel Originations totaled $16 billion, representing a 27 percent market share.
 
In November 2005, we launched a zero-fee pricing initiative on all FFELP Stafford Loans on a trial basis. For AY 2006-2007 we expanded this competitive initiative nationwide, such that we pay the federally mandated two percent origination fee on behalf of the borrower. While the goal of this pricing initiative is to grow our FFELP loan volume, this strategy will reduce our margins on the affected student loans until the origination fee is completely eliminated by legislation in 2010.
 
DEBT MANAGEMENT OPERATIONS BUSINESS SEGMENT
 
We have used strategic acquisitions to build our DMO business and now have six operating units that comprise our DMO business segment. In our DMO segment, we provide a wide range of accounts receivable and collections services including student loan default aversion services, defaulted student loan portfolio management services, contingency collections services for student loans and other asset classes, primarily a contingency or pay for performance business. We also provide accounts receivable management and collections services on consumer and mortgage receivable portfolios that we purchase. The table below presents a timeline of key acquisitions that have fueled the growth of our DMO business.
 
In recent years we have diversified our DMO contingency revenue stream away from student loans into the purchase of distressed and defaulted receivables marketplace. We now have the expertise to acquire and manage portfolios of sub-performing and non-performing mortgage loans, substantially all of which are secured by one-to-four family residential real estate. We also have a servicing platform and a disciplined portfolio pricing approach to several consumer debt asset classes. We are now in the position to offer the purchase of distressed or defaulted debt to our partner schools as an additional method of enhancing their receivables management strategies. The diversification into purchased paper has lowered student loan contingency fees to 48 percent of total DMO revenue in 2006, versus 75 percent in 2004.


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Sallie Mae Timeline — DMO
 
(GRAPHIC)
 
In 2006, our DMO business segment had revenues totaling $636 million and net income of $157 million, which represented increases of 21 percent and 16 percent over 2005, respectively. Our largest customer, USA Funds, accounted for 32 percent of our revenue in 2006.
 
Products and Services
 
  Student Loan Default Aversion Services
 
We provide default aversion services for five guarantors, including the nation’s largest, USA Funds. These services are designed to prevent a default once a borrower’s loan has been placed in delinquency status.
 
  Defaulted Student Loan Portfolio Management Services
 
Our DMO business segment manages the defaulted student loan portfolios for six guarantors under long-term contracts. DMO’s largest customer, USA Funds, represents approximately 17 percent of defaulted student loan portfolios in the market. Our portfolio management services include selecting collection agencies and determining account placements to those agencies, processing loan consolidations and loan rehabilitations, and managing federal and state offset programs.
 
  Contingency Collection Services
 
Our DMO business segment is also engaged in the collection of defaulted student loans and other debt on behalf of various clients including guarantors, federal agencies, credit card issuers, utilities, and other retail clients. We earn fees that are contingent on the amounts collected. We also provide collection services for ED and now have approximately 11 percent of the total market for such services. We also have relationships with more than 900 colleges and universities to provide collection services for delinquent student loans and other receivables from various campus-based programs.
 
  Collection of Purchased Receivables
 
In our DMO business, we also purchase delinquent and defaulted receivables from credit originators and other holders of receivables at a significant discount from the face value of the debt instruments. In addition, we purchase sub-performing and non-performing mortgage receivables at a discount usually calculated as a percentage of the underlying collateral. We use a combination of internal collectors and outside collection agencies to collect on these portfolios, seeking to attain the highest cost/benefit for our overall collection strategy. We recognize revenue primarily using the effective yield method, though we do use the cost recovery method when appropriate, primarily in the mortgage receivable business. A major success factor in the purchased receivables business is the ability to effectively price the portfolios. We conduct both quantitative and qualitative analysis to appropriately price each portfolio to yield a return consistent with our DMO financial targets.


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Competition
 
The private sector collections industry is highly fragmented with few large companies and a large number of small scale companies. The DMO businesses that provide third party collections services for ED, FFELP guarantors and other federal holders of defaulted debt are highly competitive. In addition to competing with other collection enterprises, we also compete with credit grantors who each have unique mixes of internal collections, outsourced collections, and debt sales. Although the scale, diversification, and performance of our DMO business has been a competitive advantage, the trend in the collections industry is for credit grantors to sell portfolios rather than to manage contingency collections.
 
In the purchased paper business, the marketplace is trending more toward open market competitive bidding rather than solicitation by sellers to a select group of potential buyers. Price inflation and the availability of capital in the sector contribute to this trend. Unlike many of our competitors, our DMO business does not rely solely on purchased portfolio revenue. This enables us to maintain pricing discipline and purchase only those portfolios that are expected to meet our profitability and strategic goals. Portfolios are purchased individually on a spot basis or through contractual relationships with sellers to periodically purchase portfolios at set prices. We compete primarily on price, but also on the basis of our reputation, industry experience and relationships.
 
CORPORATE AND OTHER BUSINESS SEGMENT
 
Guarantor Services
 
We earn fees for providing a full complement of administrative services to FFELP guarantors. FFELP student loans are guaranteed by these agencies, with ED providing reinsurance to the guarantor. The guarantors are non-profit institutions or state agencies that, in addition to providing the primary guarantee on FFELP loans, are responsible for other activities including:
 
  •  guarantee issuance — the initial approval of loan terms and guarantee eligibility;
 
  •  account maintenance — maintaining and updating of records on guaranteed loans; and
 
  •  guarantee fulfillment — review and processing of guarantee claims.
 
Currently, we provide a variety of these services to nine guarantors and, in AY 2005-2006, we processed $15.1 billion in new FFELP loan guarantees, of which $11.6 billion was for USA Funds, the nation’s largest guarantor. We processed guarantees for approximately 29 percent of the FFELP loan market in AY 2005-2006.
 
Guarantor servicing fee revenue, which included guarantee issuance and account maintenance fees, was $132 million for the year ended December 31, 2006, 83 percent of which we earned from services performed on behalf of USA Funds. Under some of our guarantee services agreements, including our agreement with USA Funds, we receive certain scheduled fees for the services that we provide under such agreements. The payment for these services includes a contractually agreed upon set percentage of the account maintenance fees that the guarantors receive from ED.
 
Our primary non-profit competitors in guarantor servicing are state and non-profit guarantee agencies that provide third party outsourcing to other guarantors.
 
(See APPENDIX A, “FEDERAL FAMILY EDUCATION LOAN PROGRAM — Guarantor Funding” for details of the fees paid to guarantors.)
 
Acquisitions
 
On August 22, 2006, the Company completed the acquisition of Upromise. Upromise’s popular rewards service — one of the largest rewards marketing coalitions in the U.S. — has more than seven million members who have joined Upromise to save for college when they and their families buy gas or groceries, dine out, or purchase other goods and services from more than 450 participating companies. Upromise’s subsidiary, Upromise Investments, Inc., is also the largest administrator of direct-to-consumer 529 college savings plans, administering approximately 1.2 million college savings accounts and over $15 billion in assets with tax-


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advantaged 529 investment options through partnerships with nine states. Upromise offers its rewards service members the opportunity to link their Upromise account to a participating 529 plan so that their savings can be transferred automatically into their plan on a periodic basis.
 
This acquisition broadens our scope in higher education access to include education savings and enhances our competitive advantage in the student loan industry as the Company builds a relationship with potential borrowers earlier. The savings earned through Upromise are in addition to other lender-sponsored savings programs that may include zero origination fees, zero default fee and various repayment status borrower benefit programs.
 
REGULATION
 
Like other participants in the FFELP program, the Company is subject to the HEA and, from time to time, to review of its student loan operations by ED and guarantee agencies. ED is authorized under its regulations to limit, suspend or terminate lenders from participating in the FFELP, as well as impose civil penalties if lenders violate program regulations. The laws relating to the FFELP program are subject to revision. In addition, Sallie Mae, Inc., as a servicer of federal student loans, is subject to certain ED regulations regarding financial responsibility and administrative capability that govern all third party servicers of insured student loans. Failure to satisfy such standards may result in the loss of the government guarantee of the payment of principal and accrued interest on defaulted FFELP loans. Also, in connection with our guarantor servicing operations, the Company must comply with, on behalf of its guarantor servicing customers, certain ED regulations that govern guarantor activities as well as agreements for reimbursement between the Secretary of Education and the Company’s guarantor servicing customers. Failure to comply with these regulations or the provisions of these agreements may result in the termination of the Secretary of Education’s reimbursement obligation.
 
The Company’s originating or servicing of federal and private student loans also subjects it to federal and state consumer protection, privacy and related laws and regulations. Some of the more significant federal laws and regulations that are applicable to our student loan business include:
 
  •  the Truth-In-Lending Act;
 
  •  the Fair Credit Reporting Act;
 
  •  the Equal Credit Opportunity Act;
 
  •  the Gramm-Leach Bliley Act; and
 
  •  the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.
 
Our DMO’s debt collection and receivables management activities are subject to federal and state consumer protection, privacy and related laws and regulations. Some of the more significant federal laws and regulations that are applicable to our DMO business include:
 
  •  the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act;
 
  •  the Fair Credit Reporting Act;
 
  •  the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act; and
 
  •  the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.
 
In addition, our DMO business is subject to state laws and regulations similar to the federal laws and regulations listed above. Finally, certain DMO subsidiaries are subject to regulation under the HEA and under the various laws and regulations that govern government contractors.
 
Sallie Mae Bank is subject to Utah banking regulations as well as regulations issued by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.


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Finally, Upromise’s affiliates, which administer 529 college savings plans, are subject to regulation by the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board, the National Association of Securities Dealers, Inc. and the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) through the Investment Advisers Act of 1940.
 
AVAILABLE INFORMATION
 
The SEC maintains an Internet site (http://www.sec.gov) that contains periodic and other reports such as annual, quarterly and current reports on Forms 10-K, 10-Q and 8-K, respectively, as well as proxy and information statements regarding SLM Corporation and other companies that file electronically with the SEC. Copies of our annual reports on Form 10-K and our quarterly reports on Form 10-Q are available on our website as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file such reports with the SEC. Investors and other interested parties can also access these reports at www.salliemae.com about/investors.
 
Our Code of Business Conduct, which applies to Board members and all employees, including our Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer, is also available, free of charge, on our website at www.salliemae.com/about/business_code.htm. We intend to disclose any amendments to or waivers from our Code of Business Conduct (to the extent applicable to our Chief Executive Officer or Chief Financial Officer) by posting such information on our website.
 
In 2006, the Company submitted the annual certification of its Chief Executive Officer regarding the Company’s compliance with the NYSE’s corporate governance listing standards, pursuant to Section 303A.12(a) of the NYSE Listed Company Manual.
 
In addition, we filed as exhibits to the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2005 and to this Annual Report on Form 10-K, the certifications required under Section 302 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002.


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Item 1A.   Risk Factors
 
LENDING BUSINESS SEGMENT — FFELP STUDENT LOANS
 
A larger than expected increase in third party consolidation activity may reduce our FFELP student loan spread, materially impair our Retained Interest, reduce our interest earning assets and otherwise materially adversely affect our results of operations.
 
If third party consolidation activity increases beyond management’s expectations, our FFELP student loan spread may be adversely affected; our Retained Interest may be materially impaired; our future earnings may be reduced from the loss of interest earning assets; and our results of operations may be adversely affected. Our FFELP student loan spread may be adversely affected because third party consolidators generally target our highest yielding FFELP Consolidation Loans. Our Retained Interest may be materially impaired if consolidation activity reaches levels not anticipated by management. We may also incur impairment charges if we increase our expected future Constant Prepayment Rate (“CPR”) assumptions used to value the Residual Interest as a result of such unanticipated levels of consolidation. The potentially material adverse affect on our operating results relates principally to our hedging activities in connection with Floor Income. We enter into certain Floor Income Contracts under which we receive an upfront fee in exchange for our payment of the Floor Income earned on a notional amount of underlying FFELP Consolidation Loans over the life of the Floor Income Contract. If third party consolidation activity that involves refinancing an existing FFELP Consolidation Loan with a new FFELP Consolidation Loan increases substantially, then the Floor Income that we are obligated to pay under such Floor Income Contracts may exceed the Floor Income actually generated from the underlying FFELP Consolidation Loans, possibly to a material extent. In such a scenario, we would either close out the related Floor Income Contracts or purchase an offsetting hedge. In either case, the adverse impact on both our GAAP and “Core Earnings” could be material. (See “MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS — LENDING BUSINESS SEGMENT — Floor Income — Managed Basis.”)
 
Incorrect estimates and assumptions by management in connection with the preparation of our consolidated financial statements could adversely affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities and the reported amounts of income and expenses.
 
The preparation of our consolidated financial statements requires management to make certain critical accounting estimates and assumptions that could affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities and the reported amounts of income and expense during the reporting periods. (See “MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS — CRITICAL ACCOUNTING POLICIES AND ESTIMATES.”) For example, for both our federally insured and Private Education Loans, the unamortized portion of the premiums and the discounts is included in the carrying value of the student loan on the consolidated balance sheet. We recognize income on our student loan portfolio based on the expected yield of the student loan after giving effect to the amortization of purchase premiums and accretion of student loan income discounts, as well as the impact of Borrower Benefits. In arriving at the expected yield, we must make a number of estimates that when changed must be reflected as a cumulative student loan catch-up from the inception of the student loan. The most sensitive estimate for premium and discount amortization is the estimate of the CPR, which measures the rate at which loans in the portfolio pay before their stated maturity. The CPR is used in calculating the average life of the portfolio. A number of factors can affect the CPR estimate such as the rate of consolidation activity and default rates. If we make an incorrect CPR estimate, the previously recognized income on our student loan portfolio based on the expected yield of the student loan will need to be adjusted in the current period.
 
In addition, the impact of our Borrower Benefits programs, which provide incentives to borrowers to make timely payments on their loans by allowing for reductions in future interest rates as well as rebates on outstanding balances, is dependent on the number of borrowers who will eventually qualify for these benefits. The incentives are offered to attract new borrowers and to improve our borrowers’ payment behavior. For example, we offer borrowers an incentive program that reduces their interest rate by a specified percentage per year or reduces their loan balance after they have made a specified initial number of scheduled payments on


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time and for so long as they continue to make subsequent scheduled payments on time. We regularly estimate the qualification rates for Borrower Benefits programs and book a level yield adjustment based upon that estimate. If our estimate of the qualification rates is lower than the actual rates, both the yield on our student loan portfolio and our net interest income will be lower than estimated and a cumulative adjustment will be made to reduce income, possibly to a material extent. Such an underestimation may also adversely affect the value of our Retained Interest because one of the assumptions made in assessing its value is the amount of Borrower Benefits expected to be earned by borrowers. Finally, we continue to look at new ways to attract new borrowers and to improve our borrowers’ payment behavior. These efforts as well as the actions of competing lenders may lead to the addition or modification of Borrower Benefits programs.
 
LENDING BUSINESS SEGMENT — PRIVATE EDUCATION LOANS
 
Changes in the composition of our Managed student loan portfolio will increase the risk profile of our asset base and our capital requirements.
 
As of December 31, 2006, 16 percent of our Managed student loans were Private Education Loans. Private Education Loans are unsecured and are not guaranteed or reinsured under the FFELP or any other federal student loan program and are not insured by any private insurance program. Accordingly, we bear the full risk of loss on most of these loans if the borrower and co-borrower, if applicable, default. Events beyond our control such as a prolonged economic downturn could make it difficult for Private Education Loan borrowers to meet their payment obligations for a variety of reasons, including job loss and underemployment, which could lead to higher levels of delinquencies and defaults. Private Education Loans now account for 23 percent of our “Core Earnings” net interest income after provisions and 16 percent of our Managed student loan portfolio. We expect that Private Education Loans will become an increasingly higher percentage of both our margin and our Managed student loan portfolio, which will increase the risk profile of our asset base and raise our capital requirements because Private Education Loans have significantly higher capital requirements than FFELP loans. This may affect the availability of capital for other purposes. In addition, the comparatively larger spreads on Private Education Loans, which historically have compensated for the narrowing FFELP spreads, may narrow as competition increases.
 
As a component of our Private Education Loan program, we make available various tailored loan programs to numerous schools that are designed to help finance the education of students who are academically qualified but do not meet our standard credit criteria. Depending upon the loan program, schools share some portion of the risk of default. However, if the school experiences financial difficulty, we could bear the full risk of default. Management has taken specific steps to manage strategically the growth of its non-standard loan programs, instituted credit education programs to educate borrowers on how to improve their credit and shifted the focus to programs that are structured so that the Company will not bear the risk of a school’s bankruptcy. However, there can be no assurance that the Company’s non-standard student loan programs will not have an adverse effect on the overall credit quality of the Company’s Managed Private Education Loan portfolio.
 
Past charge-off rates on our Private Education Loans may not be indicative of future charge-off rates because, among other things, we use forbearance policies and our failure to adequately predict and reserve for charge-offs may adversely impact our results of operations.
 
We have established forbearance policies for our Private Education Loans under which we provide to the borrower temporary relief from payment of principal or interest in exchange for a processing fee paid by the borrower, which is waived under certain circumstances. During the forbearance period, generally granted in three-month increments, interest that the borrower otherwise would have paid is typically capitalized at the end of the forbearance term. At December 31, 2006, approximately nine percent of our Managed Private Education Loans in repayment and forbearance were in forbearance. Forbearance is used most heavily when the borrower’s loan enters repayment; however, borrowers may apply for forbearance multiple times and a significant number of Private Education Loan borrowers have taken advantage of this option. When a borrower ends forbearance and enters repayment, the account is considered current. Accordingly, a borrower who may have been delinquent in his payments or may not have made any recent payments on his account will be


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accounted for as a borrower in a current repayment status when the borrower exits the forbearance period. In addition, past charge-off rates on our Private Education Loans may not be indicative of future charge-off rates because of, among other things, the use of forbearance and the effect of future changes to the forbearance policies. If our forbearance policies prove over time to be less effective on cash collections than we expect or if we limit the circumstances under which forbearance may be granted under our forbearance policies, they could have a material adverse effect on the amount of future charge-offs and the ultimate default rate used to calculate loan loss reserves which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations. (See “MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS — LENDING BUSINESS SEGMENT — Total Loan Net Charge-offs.”)
 
In addition, our loss estimates include losses to be incurred generally over a two-year loss emergence period. The two-year estimate of the allowance for loan losses is subject to a number of assumptions about future borrower behavior that may prove incorrect. For example, we use a migration analysis of historical charge-off experience and combine that with qualitative measures to project future trends. However, future charge-off rates can be higher than anticipated due to a variety of factors such as downturns in the economy, regulatory or operational changes in debt management operations effectiveness, and other unforeseeable future trends. If actual future performance in charge-offs and delinquency is worse than estimated, this could materially affect our estimate of the allowance for loan losses and the related provision for loan losses on our income statement.
 
DEBT MANAGEMENT OPERATIONS BUSINESS SEGMENT
 
Our growth in our DMO business segment is dependent in part on successfully identifying, consummating and integrating strategic acquisitions.
 
Since 2000, we have acquired five companies that are now successfully integrated within our Debt Management Operations group. Each of these acquisitions has contributed to DMO’s substantial growth. Future growth in the DMO business segment is dependent in part on successfully identifying, consummating and integrating strategic acquisitions. There can be no assurance that we will be successful in doing so. In addition, certain of these acquisitions have expanded our operations into businesses and asset classes that pose substantially more business and litigation risks than our core FFELP student loan business. For example, on September 16, 2004, we acquired a 64 percent (now 88 percent) interest in AFS Holdings, LLC, commonly known as Arrow Financial Services, a company that, among other services, purchases non-performing receivables. In addition, on August 31, 2005, we purchased GRP, a company that purchases distressed mortgage receivables. While both companies purchase such assets at a discount and have sophisticated analytical and operational tools to price and collect on portfolio purchases, there can be no assurance that the price paid for defaulted portfolios will yield adequate returns, or that other factors beyond their control will not have a material adverse affect on their results of operations. Portfolio performance below original projections could result in impairments to the purchased portfolio assets. In addition, these businesses are subject to litigation risk under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Fair Credit Reporting Act and various other federal, state and local laws in the normal course from private plaintiffs as well as federal and state regulatory authorities. Finally, we may explore additional business opportunities that may pose further or new risks.
 
Our DMO business segment may not be able to purchase defaulted consumer receivables at prices that management believes to be appropriate, and a decrease in our ability to purchase portfolios of receivables could adversely affect our net income.
 
If our DMO business segment is not able to purchase defaulted consumer receivables at planned levels and at prices that management believes to be appropriate, we could experience short-term and long-term decreases in income.


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The availability of receivables portfolios at prices which generate an appropriate return on our investment depends on a number of factors both within and outside of our control, including the following:
 
  •  the continuation of current growth trends in the levels of consumer obligations;
 
  •  sales of receivables portfolios by debt owners;
 
  •  competitive factors affecting potential purchasers and credit originators of receivables; and
 
  •  the ability to continue to service portfolios to yield an adequate return.
 
Because of the length of time involved in collecting defaulted consumer receivables on acquired portfolios and the volatility in the timing of our collections, we may not be able to identify trends and make changes in our purchasing strategies in a timely manner.
 
LIQUIDITY AND CAPITAL RESOURCES
 
If our stock price falls significantly, we may be required to settle our equity forward positions in a manner that could have a materially dilutive effect on our common stock.
 
We repurchase our common stock through both open market purchases and equity forward contracts. At December 31, 2006, we had outstanding equity forward contracts to purchase 48.2 million shares of our common stock at prices ranging from $46.30 to $54.74 per share. The equity forward contracts permit the counterparty to terminate a portion of the equity forward contract if the common stock price falls below an “initial trigger price” and the counterparty can continue to terminate portions of the contract as the stock price reaches lower predetermined levels, until the stock price reaches the “final trigger price” whereby the entire contract can be terminated. The final trigger price is generally 50 percent of the strike price. For equity forward contracts in effect as of December 31, 2006, the initial trigger price ranged from approximately $25.93 to $35.58 and the final trigger price ranged from $20.84 to $27.37. In February 2007, the Company amended equity forward contracts with several counterparties under which the trigger prices were reduced. As of February 28, 2007, the highest trigger price on all outstanding equity forwards is $30.11. If the counterparty terminates a portion of the contract or the entire contract, we can satisfy any shortfall by paying cash or delivering common stock. If we issue common stock to settle the contracts in such circumstances, it could have a materially dilutive effect on our common stock. See “MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS — COMMON STOCK.”
 
We are exposed to interest rate risk in the form of basis risk and repricing risk because the interest rate characteristics of our earning assets do not always match exactly the interest rate characteristics of the funding.
 
Depending on economic and other factors, we may fund our assets with debt that has a different index and/or reset frequency than the asset, but generally only where we believe there is a high degree of correlation between the interest rate movement of the two indices. For example, we use daily reset 3-month LIBOR to fund a large portion of our daily reset 3-month commercial paper indexed assets. We also use different index types and index reset frequencies to fund various other assets. In using different index types and different index reset frequencies to fund our assets, we are exposed to interest rate risk in the form of basis risk and repricing risk, which is the risk that the different indices may reset at different frequencies, or will not move in the same direction or with the same magnitude. While these indices are short-term with rate movements that are highly correlated over a long period of time, there can be no assurance that this high correlation will not be disrupted by capital market dislocations or other factors not within our control. In such circumstances, our earnings could be adversely affected, possibly to a material extent.


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We may face limited availability of financing, variation in our funding costs and uncertainty in our securitization financing.
 
In general, the amount, type and cost of our funding, including securitization and unsecured financing from the capital markets and borrowings from financial institutions, have a direct impact on our operating expenses and financial results and can limit our ability to grow our assets.
 
A number of factors could make such securitization and unsecured financing more difficult, more expensive or unavailable on any terms both domestically and internationally (where funding transactions may be on terms more or less favorable than in the United States), including, but not limited to, financial results and losses, changes within our organization, specific events that have an adverse impact on our reputation, changes in the activities of our business partners, disruptions in the capital markets, specific events that have an adverse impact on the financial services industry, counter-party availability, changes affecting our assets, our corporate and regulatory structure, interest rate fluctuations, ratings agencies’ actions, general economic conditions and the legal, regulatory, accounting and tax environments governing our funding transactions. In addition, our ability to raise funds is strongly affected by the general state of the U.S. and world economies, and may become increasingly difficult due to economic and other factors. Finally, we compete for funding with other industry participants, some of which are publicly traded. Competition from these institutions may increase our cost of funds.
 
We are dependent on the securitization markets for the long-term financing of student loans, which we expect to provide approximately 75 percent of our funding needs in 2007. If this market were to experience difficulties, if our asset quality were to deteriorate or if our debt ratings were to be downgraded, we may be unable to securitize our student loans or to do so on favorable terms, including pricing. If we were unable to continue to securitize our student loans at current levels or on favorable terms, we would use alternative funding sources to fund increases in student loans and meet our other liquidity needs. If we were unable to find cost-effective and stable funding alternatives, our funding capabilities and liquidity would be negatively impacted and our cost of funds could increase, adversely affecting our results of operations, and our ability to grow would be limited.
 
In addition, the occurrence of certain events such as consolidations and reconsolidations may cause the securitization transactions to amortize earlier than scheduled, which could accelerate the need for additional funding to the extent that we effected the refinancing.
 
The rating agencies could downgrade the ratings on our senior unsecured debt, which could increase our cost of funds.
 
Securitizations are the primary source of our long-term financing and liquidity. Our ability to access the securitization market and the ratings on our asset-backed securities are not directly or fully dependent upon the Company’s general corporate credit ratings. However, the Company also utilizes senior unsecured long-term and short-term debt, which is dependent upon rating agency scoring. Our senior unsecured long-term debt is currently rated A2, A and A+ and senior unsecured short-term debt is currently rated P-1, A-1 and F1+ by Moody’s Investors Service, Inc., Standard and Poor’s Ratings Services, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., and Fitch Ratings, respectively. If any or all of these ratings were downgraded of if they were put on watch with negative implications for any reason, our overall cost of funds could increase.
 
GENERAL
 
Our business is subject to a number of risks, uncertainties and conditions, some of which are not within our control, including general economic conditions, increased competition, adverse changes in the laws and regulations that govern our businesses and failure to successfully identify, consummate and integrate strategic acquisitions.
 
Our business is subject to a number of risks, uncertainties and conditions, some of which we cannot control. For example, if the U.S. economy were to sustain a prolonged economic downturn a number of our businesses — including our fastest growing businesses, Private Education Loan business and Debt Management


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Operations — could be adversely affected. We bear the full risk of loss on our portfolio of Private Education Loans. A prolonged economic downturn could make it difficult for borrowers to meet their payment obligations for a variety of reasons, including job loss and underemployment. In addition, a prolonged economic downturn could extend the amortization period on DMO’s purchased receivables.
 
We face strong competition in all of our businesses, particularly in our FFELP business. For example, a number of direct-to-consumer firms entered the market for FFELP Consolidation Loans in recent years in response to increased borrower demand and low barriers to entry. There can also be no assurance that significantly more such firms will not enter the market for FFELP Consolidation Loans, which could result in higher than expected prepayments on our FFELP loan portfolio. (See “MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS — LENDING BUSINESS SEGMENT — Trends in the Lending Business Segment.”) Such prepayments would adversely impact our earnings. We also expect to see more competition in our Private Education Loan business. The strong margins that we currently maintain in this growing business that offset some of the margin erosion that we have experienced in our FFELP business may begin to weaken as more competitors offer competing products. If these competitive trends intensify, we could face further margin pressure.
 
Because we earn our revenues from federally insured loans under a federally sponsored loan program, we are subject to political and regulatory risk. As part of the HEA, the student loan program is periodically amended and must be “reauthorized” every six years. Past legislative changes included reduced loan yields paid to lenders (1986, 1992, 1995 and 1998), increased fees paid by lenders (1993), decreased level of the government guaranty (1993) and reduced fees to guarantors and collectors, among others. On February 8, 2006, the President signed the Reconciliation Legislation. The Reconciliation Legislation contains a number of provisions that over time will reduce our earnings on FFELP student loans, including a requirement that lenders rebate Floor Income on new loans and a reduction in lender reinsurance. In addition, since January 1, 2007, several bills have been introduced in both houses of Congress that would be, if enacted in their current forms, materially adverse to the profitability of the FFELP industry and create incentives for post-secondary schools to participate in the FDLP rather than the FFELP. The President’s 2008 budget proposals also call for, among other things, a 50 basis point cut in special allowance payments. Finally, there can be no assurances that future reauthorizations and other political developments will not result in changes that have a materially adverse impact on the Company. (For further discussion see “MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS — RECENT DEVELOPMENTS”.)
 
Our principal business is comprised of acquiring, originating, holding and servicing education loans made and guaranteed under the FFELP. Most significant aspects of our principal business are governed by the HEA. We must also meet various requirements of the guaranty agencies, which are private not-for-profit organizations or state agencies that have entered into federal reinsurance contracts with ED, to maintain the federal guarantee on our FFELP loans. These requirements establish origination and servicing requirements, procedural guidelines and school and borrower eligibility criteria. The federal guarantee of FFELP loans is conditioned on loans being originated, disbursed or serviced in accordance with ED regulations.
 
If we fail to comply with any of the above requirements, we could incur penalties or lose the federal guarantee on some or all of our FFELP loans. In addition, our marketing practices are subject to the HEA’s prohibited inducement provision and our failure to comply with such regulation could subject us to a limitation, suspension or termination of our eligible lender status. Even if we comply with the above requirements, a failure to comply by third parties with whom we conduct business could result in us incurring penalties or losing the federal guarantee on some or all of our FFELP loans. If we experience a high rate of servicing deficiencies, we could incur costs associated with remedial servicing, and, if we are unsuccessful in curing such deficiencies, the eventual losses on the loans that are not cured could be material. Failure to comply with these laws and regulations could result in our liability to borrowers and potential class action suits, all of which could adversely affect our future growth rates. An additional consequence of servicing deficiencies would be the loss of our Exceptional Performer Designation.


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Because of the risks, uncertainties and conditions described above, there can be no assurance that we can maintain our future growth rates at rates consistent with our historic growth rates.
 
Our GAAP earnings are highly susceptible to changes in interest rates because most of our derivatives do not qualify for hedge accounting treatment under SFAS No. 133.
 
Changes in interest rates can cause volatility in our GAAP earnings as a result of changes in the market value of our derivatives that do not qualify for hedge accounting treatment under SFAS No. 133, “Accounting for Derivative Instruments and Hedging Activities.” Under SFAS No. 133, changes in derivative market values are recognized immediately in earnings. If a derivative instrument does not qualify for hedge accounting treatment under SFAS No. 133, there is no corresponding change in the fair value of the hedged item recognized in earnings. As a result, gain or loss recognized on a derivative will not be offset by a corresponding gain or loss on the underlying hedged item. Because most of our derivatives do not qualify for hedge accounting treatment, when interest rates change significantly, our GAAP earnings may fluctuate significantly.
 
For a discussion of operational, market and interest rate, and liquidity risks, see “MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS — RISKS.”
 
Item 1B.   Unresolved Staff Comments
 
None.
 
Item 2.   Properties
 
The following table lists the principal facilities owned by the Company:
 
             
        Approximate
 
Location
  Function   Square Feet  
 
Reston, VA
  Headquarters     240,000  
Fishers, IN
  Loan Servicing and Data Center     450,000  
Wilkes Barre, PA
  Loan Servicing Center     133,000  
Killeen, TX
  Loan Servicing Center     133,000  
Lynn Haven, FL
  Loan Servicing Center     133,000  
Indianapolis, IN
  Loan Servicing Center     100,000  
Marianna, FL(1)
  Back-up/Disaster Recovery Facility for Loan Servicing     94,000  
Big Flats, NY
  Debt Management and Collections Center     60,000  
Gilbert, AZ
  Southwest Student Services Headquarters     60,000  
Arcade, NY(2)
  Debt Management and Collections Center     46,000  
Perry, NY(2)
  Debt Management and Collections Center     45,000  
Swansea, MA
  AMS Headquarters     36,000  
 
 
(1) Facility listed for sale in October 2006.
 
  (2)  In the first quarter of 2003, the Company entered into a ten year lease with the Wyoming County Industrial Development Authority with a right of reversion to the Company for the Arcade and Perry, New York facilities.
 
In December 2003, the Company sold its prior Reston, Virginia headquarters and leased approximately 229,000 square feet of that building from the purchaser through August 31, 2004. The Company completed the construction of a new headquarters building in Reston, Virginia in August 2004 that has approximately 240,000 square feet of space. All Reston-based employees were moved into the new headquarters in August 2004.


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The following table lists the principal facilities leased by the Company as of December 31, 2006:
 
             
        Approximate
 
Location
  Function   Square Feet  
 
Niles, IL
  AFS Headquarters     84,000  
Summerlin, Nevada
  Debt Management and Collections Center     71,000  
Cincinnati, Ohio
  GRC Headquarters and Debt Management and Collections
Center
    59,000  
Muncie, IN
  SLM — DMO     54,000  
Needham, MA
  Upromise     49,000  
Mt. Laurel, New Jersey
  SLM Financial Headquarters and Operations     42,000  
Novi, MI
  Sallie Mae Home Loans     37,000  
Seattle, WA
  NELA     32,000  
Moorestown, NJ
  Pioneer Credit Recovery     30,000  
Braintree, MA
  Nellie Mae Headquarters     27,000  
Whitewater, WI
  AFS Operations     16,000  
Centennial, CO
  Noel-Levitz     16,000  
White Plains, NY
  GRP     15,400  
West Valley, NY
  Pioneer Credit Recovery     14,000  
Batavia, NY
  Pioneer Credit Recovery     13,000  
Iowa City, IA
  Noel-Levitz     13,000  
Perry, NY
  Pioneer Credit Recovery     12,000  
Gainesville, FL
  SLMLSC     11,000  
Phoenix, AZ
  Sallie Mae Home Loans     9,000  
Cincinnati, OH
  Student Loan Funding     9,000  
Burlington, MA
  Sallie Mae Home Loans     8,000  
Washington, D.C. 
  Government Relations     5,000  
 
None of the Company’s facilities is encumbered by a mortgage. The Company believes that its headquarters, loan servicing centers data center, back-up facility and data management and collections centers are generally adequate to meet its long-term student loan and new business goals. The Company’s principal office is currently in owned space at 12061 Bluemont Way, Reston, Virginia, 20190.
 
Item 3.   Legal Proceedings
 
On January 25, 2007, the Attorney General of Illinois filed a lawsuit against one of the Company’s subsidiaries, Arrow Financial Services, LLC (“AFS”), in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois alleging that AFS violated the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Practices Act and the federal Fair Debt Collections Practices Act. The lawsuit seeks to enjoin AFS from violating the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Practices Act and from engaging in debt management and collection services in or from the State of Illinois. The lawsuit also seeks to rescind certain agreements to pay back debt between AFS and Illinois consumers, to pay restitution to all consumers who have been harmed by AFS’s alleged unlawful practices, to impose a statutory civil penalty of $50,000 and to impose a civil penalty of $50,000 per violation ($60,000 per violation if the consumer is 65 years of age or older). The lawsuit alleges that as of January 25, 2007, 660 complaints against Arrow Financial have been filed with the Office of the Illinois Attorney General since 1999 and over 800 complaints have been filed with the Better Business Bureau. As of December 29, 2006, the Company owns 88 percent of the membership interests in AFS Holdings, LLC, the parent company of AFS. Management cannot predict the outcome of this lawsuit or its effect on the Company’s financial position or results of operations.
 
On December 28, 2006, the Company received an informal request for information and documents from New York’s Office of the Attorney General concerning schools’ use of preferred lender lists for either FFELP


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or Private Education Loans and the Company’s marketing practices as they relate to preferred lender lists. The New York Attorney General’s Office has also requested information from other lenders and schools that participate in the FFELP and FDLP. The Company is cooperating with the New York Attorney General’s Office in order to provide information and documents responsive to their request. Management cannot predict the outcome of this request or its effect on the Company’s financial position or results of operations.
 
We are also subject to various claims, lawsuits and other actions that arise in the normal course of business. Most of these matters are claims by borrowers disputing the manner in which their loans have been processed or the accuracy of our reports to credit bureaus. In addition, the collections subsidiaries in our debt management operation group are routinely named in individual plaintiff or class action lawsuits in which the plaintiffs allege that we have violated a federal or state law in the process of collecting their account. Management believes that these claims, lawsuits and other actions will not have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations. Finally, from time to time, we receive information and document requests from state attorney generals concerning certain of our business practices. Our practice has been and continues to be to cooperate with the state attorney generals and to be responsive to any such requests.
 
Item 4.   Submission of Matters to a Vote of Security Holders
 
Nothing to report.


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PART II.
 
Item 5.   Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
 
The Company’s common stock is listed and traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol SLM. The number of holders of record of the Company’s common stock as of January 31, 2007 was 653. The following table sets forth the high and low sales prices for the Company’s common stock for each full quarterly period within the two most recent fiscal years.
 
Common Stock Prices
 
                                         
        1st Quarter   2nd Quarter   3rd Quarter   4th Quarter
 
2006
    High     $ 58.35     $ 55.21     $ 53.07     $ 52.09  
      Low       51.86       50.05       45.76       44.65  
                                         
2005
    High     $ 55.13     $ 51.46     $ 53.98     $ 56.48  
      Low       46.39       45.56       48.85       51.32  
 
The Company paid quarterly cash dividends of $.19 per share on the common stock for the first quarter of 2005, $.22 for the last three quarters of 2005 and for the first quarter of 2006, $.25 for the last three quarters of 2006, and declared a quarterly cash dividend of $.25 for the first quarter of 2007.
 
Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
 
The following table summarizes the Company’s common share repurchases during 2006 pursuant to the stock repurchase program (see Note 14 to the consolidated financial statements, “Stockholders’ Equity”) first authorized in September 1997 by the Board of Directors. Since the inception of the program, which has no expiration date, the Board of Directors has authorized the purchase of up to 317.5 million shares as of December 31, 2006. Included in this total are 10 million additional shares authorized for repurchase by the Board in October 2006.
 
                                 
                Maximum Number
            Total Number of
  of Shares that
            Shares Purchased
  May Yet Be
    Total Number
  Average Price
  as Part of Publicly
  Purchased Under
    of Shares
  Paid per
  Announced Plans
  the Plans or
    Purchased(1)   Share   or Programs   Programs(2)
 
(Common shares in millions)
                               
                                 
Period:
                               
January 1 – March 31, 2006
    3.3     $ 55.13       2.5       16.2  
April 1 – June 30, 2006
    2.5       53.93       2.1       10.9  
July 1 – September 30, 2006
    3.2       48.76       3.0       5.7  
                                 
October 1 – October 31, 2006
                      15.7  
November 1 – November 30, 2006
    .2       47.35             15.7  
December 1 – December 31, 2006
                      15.7  
                                 
Total fourth quarter
    .2       47.72                
                                 
Year ended December 31, 2006
    9.2     $ 52.41       7.6          
                                 
     _ _
 
(1) The total number of shares purchased includes: i) shares purchased under the stock repurchase program discussed above, and ii) shares purchased in connection with the exercise of stock options and vesting of performance stock to satisfy minimum statutory tax withholding obligations and shares tendered by employees to satisfy option exercise costs (which combined totaled 1.6 million shares for 2006).
 
(2) Reduced by outstanding equity forward contracts.


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Stock Performance
 
The following graph compares the yearly percentage change in the Company’s cumulative total shareholder return on its common stock to that of Standard & Poor’s 500 Stock Index and Standard & Poor’s Financials Index. The graph assumes a base investment of $100 at December 31, 2001 and reinvestment of dividends through December 31, 2006.
 
Five Year Cumulative Total Shareholder Return
 
(PERFORMANCE GRAPH)
 
                                                 
Company/Index
  12/31/01   12/31/02   12/31/03   12/31/04   12/31/05   12/31/06
SLM Corporation
  $ 100.0     $ 124.6     $ 137.6     $ 197.6     $ 207.1     $ 187.0  
S&P Financials Index
    100.0       85.5       111.7       123.6       131.4       156.2  
S&P 500 Index
    100.0       78.0       100.2       110.9       116.3       134.4  
 
 
Source: Bloomberg Total Return Analysis


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Item 6.   Selected Financial Data
 
Selected Financial Data 2002-2006
(Dollars in millions, except per share amounts)
 
The following table sets forth selected financial and other operating information of the Company. The selected financial data in the table is derived from the consolidated financial statements of the Company. The data should be read in conjunction with the consolidated financial statements, related notes, and “MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS” included in this Form 10-K.
 
                                         
    2006     2005     2004     2003     2002  
 
Operating Data:
                                       
Net interest income
  $ 1,454     $ 1,451     $ 1,299     $ 1,326     $ 1,425  
Net income
    1,157       1,382       1,914       1,534       792  
Basic earnings per common share, before cumulative effect of accounting change
    2.73       3.25       4.36       3.08       1.69  
Basic earnings per common share, after cumulative effect of accounting change
    2.73       3.25       4.36       3.37       1.69  
Diluted earnings per common share, before cumulative effect of accounting change
    2.63       3.05       4.04       2.91       1.64  
Diluted earnings per common share, after cumulative effect of accounting change
    2.63       3.05       4.04       3.18       1.64  
Dividends per common share
    .97       .85       .74       .59       .28  
Return on common stockholders’ equity
    32 %     45 %     73 %     66 %     46 %
Net interest margin
    1.54       1.77       1.92       2.53       2.92  
Return on assets
    1.22       1.68       2.80       2.89       1.60  
Dividend payout ratio
    37       28       18       19       17  
Average equity/average assets
    3.98       3.82       3.73       4.19       3.44  
Balance Sheet Data:
                                       
Student loans, net
  $ 95,920     $ 82,604     $ 65,981     $ 50,047     $ 42,339  
Total assets
    116,136       99,339       84,094       64,611       53,175  
Total borrowings
    108,087       91,929       78,122       58,543       47,861  
Stockholders’ equity
    4,360       3,792       3,102       2,630       1,998  
Book value per common share
    9.24       7.81       6.93       5.51       4.00  
Other Data:
                                       
Off-balance sheet securitized student loans, net
  $ 46,172     $ 39,925     $ 41,457     $ 38,742     $ 35,785  


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Item 7.   Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations
 
MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF
FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
Years ended December 31, 2004-2006
(Dollars in millions, except per share amounts, unless otherwise stated)
 
FORWARD-LOOKING AND CAUTIONARY STATEMENTS
 
Some of the statements contained in this Annual Report discuss future expectations and business strategies or include other “forward-looking” information. Those statements are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause the actual results to differ materially from those contemplated by the statements. The forward-looking information is based on various factors and was derived using numerous assumptions.
 
OVERVIEW
 
We are the largest source of funding, delivery and servicing support for education loans in the United States. Our primary business is to originate, acquire and hold both federally guaranteed student loans and Private Education Loans, which are not federally guaranteed or privately insured. The primary source of our earnings is from net interest income earned on those student loans as well as gains on the sales of such loans in securitization transactions. We also earn fees for pre-default and post-default receivables management services on student loans, such that we are engaged in every phase of the student loan life cycle — from originating and servicing student loans to default prevention and ultimately the collection on defaulted student loans. Through recent acquisitions, we have expanded our receivables management services to a number of different asset classes outside of student loans. We also provide a wide range of other financial services, processing capabilities and information technology to meet the needs of educational institutions, lenders, students and their families, and guarantee agencies. SLM Corporation, more commonly known as Sallie Mae, is a holding company that operates through a number of subsidiaries. References in this report to the “Company” refer to SLM Corporation and its subsidiaries.
 
We have used both internal growth and strategic acquisitions to attain our leadership position in the education finance marketplace. Our sales force, which delivers our products on campuses across the country, is the largest in the student loan industry. The core of our marketing strategy is to promote our on-campus brands, which generate student loan originations through our Preferred Channel. Loans generated through our Preferred Channel are more profitable than loans acquired through other acquisition channels because we own them earlier in the student loan’s life and generally incur lower costs to acquire such loans. We have built brand leadership through the Sallie Mae name, the brands of our subsidiaries and those of our lender partners. These sales and marketing efforts are supported by the largest and most diversified servicing capabilities in the industry, providing an unmatched array of services to financial aid offices. In recent years, borrowers have been consolidating their FFELP Stafford loans into FFELP Consolidation Loans in much greater numbers such that FFELP Consolidation Loans now constitute 56 percent of our Managed loan portfolio. FFELP Consolidation Loans are marketed directly to consumers and we believe they will continue to be an important loan acquisition channel.
 
We have expanded into a number of fee-based businesses, most notably, our Debt Management Operations (“DMO”) business. Our DMO business provides a wide range of accounts receivable and collections services including student loan default aversion services, defaulted student loan portfolio management services, contingency collections services for student loans and other asset classes, and accounts receivable management and collection for purchased portfolios of receivables that are delinquent or have been charged off by their original creditors. We also purchase and managed portfolios of sub-performing and non-performing mortgage loans.
 
In December 2004, we completed the Wind-Down of the GSE through the defeasance of all remaining GSE debt obligations and dissolution of the GSE’s federal charter. The liquidity provided to the Company by


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the GSE has been replaced primarily by securitizations. In addition to securitizations, we have access to a number of additional sources of liquidity including an asset-backed commercial paper program, unsecured revolving credit facilities, and other unsecured corporate debt and equity security issuances.
 
We manage our business through two primary operating segments: the Lending operating segment and the DMO operating segment. Accordingly, the results of operations of the Company’s Lending and DMO operating segments are presented separately below under “BUSINESS SEGMENTS.” These operating segments are considered reportable segments under the Financial Accounting Standards Board’s (“FASB”) Statement of Financial Accounting Standards (“SFAS”) No. 131, “Disclosures about Segments of an Enterprise and Related Information,” based on quantitative thresholds applied to the Company’s financial statements.
 
CRITICAL ACCOUNTING POLICIES AND ESTIMATES
 
Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations addresses our consolidated financial statements, which have been prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles in the United States of America (“GAAP”). The preparation of these financial statements requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities and the reported amounts of income and expenses during the reporting periods. We base our estimates and judgments on historical experience and on various other factors that we believe are reasonable under the circumstances. Actual results may differ from these estimates under varying assumptions or conditions. Note 2 to the consolidated financial statements, “Significant Accounting Policies,” includes a summary of the significant accounting policies and methods used in the preparation of our consolidated financial statements.
 
On a quarterly basis, management evaluates its estimates, particularly those that include the most difficult, subjective or complex judgments and are often about matters that are inherently uncertain. These estimates relate to the following accounting policies that are discussed in more detail below: application of the effective interest method for loans (premiums, discounts and Borrower Benefits), securitization accounting and Retained Interests, allowance for loan losses, and derivative accounting. In recent years, we have frequently updated a number of estimates to account for the continued high level of FFELP Consolidation Loan activity. Also, a number of these estimates affect life-of-loan calculations. Since our student loans have long average lives, the cumulative effect of relatively small changes in estimates can be material.
 
Premiums, Discounts and Borrower Benefits
 
For both federally insured and Private Education Loans, we account for premiums paid, discounts received, capitalized direct origination costs incurred on the origination of student loans, and the impact of Borrower Benefits in accordance with SFAS No. 91, “Accounting for Nonrefundable Fees and Costs Associated with Originating or Acquiring Loans and Initial Direct Costs of Leases.” The unamortized portion of the premiums and the discounts is included in the carrying value of the student loans on the consolidated balance sheet. We recognize income on our student loan portfolio based on the expected yield of the student loan after giving effect to the amortization of purchase premiums and accretion of student loan discounts, as well as the impact of Borrower Benefits. Premiums, capitalized direct origination costs and discounts received are amortized over the estimated life of the loan, which includes an estimate of prepayment speeds. Estimates for future prepayments are incorporated in an estimated Constant Prepayment Rate (“CPR”), which is primarily based upon the historical prepayments due to consolidation and defaults, extensions from the utilization of forbearance, as well as, management’s expectation of future prepayments and extensions. For Borrower Benefits, the estimates of their effect on student loan yield are based on analyses of historical payment behavior of borrowers who are eligible for the incentives, and the evaluation of the ultimate qualification rate for these incentives. We periodically evaluate the assumptions used to estimate the loan life and qualification rates, and in instances where there are modifications to the assumptions, amortization is adjusted on a cumulative basis to reflect the change.
 
The estimate of the CPR measures the rate at which loans in the portfolio pay before their stated maturity. A number of factors can affect the CPR estimate such as the rate of consolidation activity and default rates. Changes in CPR estimates are discussed in more detail below. The impact of Borrower Benefits is dependent


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on the estimate of the number of borrowers who will eventually qualify for these benefits. For competitive purposes, we occasionally change Borrower Benefits programs in both amount and qualification factors. These programmatic changes must be reflected in the estimate of the Borrower Benefits discount.
 
Securitization Accounting and Retained Interests
 
We regularly engage in securitization transactions as part of our financing strategy (see also “LIQUIDITY AND CAPITAL RESOURCES — Securitization Activities”). In a securitization, we sell student loans to a trust that issues bonds backed by the student loans as part of the transaction. When our securitizations meet the sale criteria of SFAS No. 140, “Accounting for Transfers and Servicing of Financial Assets and Extinguishments of Liabilities — a Replacement of SFAS No. 125,” we record a gain on the sale of the student loans, which is the difference between the allocated cost basis of the assets sold and the relative fair value of the assets received. The primary judgment in determining the fair value of the assets received is the valuation of the Residual Interest.
 
The Residual Interests in each of our securitizations are treated as available-for-sale securities in accordance with SFAS No. 115, “Accounting for Certain Investments in Debt and Equity Securities,” and therefore must be marked-to-market with temporary unrealized gains and losses recognized, net of tax, in accumulated other comprehensive income in stockholders’ equity. Since there are no quoted market prices for our Residual Interests, we estimate their fair value both initially and each subsequent quarter using the key assumptions listed below:
 
  •  the projected net interest yield from the underlying securitized loans, which can be impacted by the forward yield curve, as well as the Borrower Benefits program;
 
  •  the calculation of the Embedded Floor Income associated with the securitized loan portfolio;
 
  •  the CPR;
 
  •  the discount rate used, which is intended to be commensurate with the risks involved; and
 
  •  the expected credit losses from the underlying securitized loan portfolio.
 
We recognize interest income and periodically evaluate our Residual Interests for other than temporary impairment in accordance with the Emerging Issues Task Force (“EITF”) Issue No. 99-20, “Recognition of Interest Income and Impairment on Purchased and Residual Beneficial Interests in Securitized Financial Assets.” Under this standard, each quarter we estimate the remaining cash flows to be received from our Retained Interests and use these revised cash flows to prospectively calculate a yield for income recognition. In cases where our estimate of future cash flows results in a lower yield from that used to recognize interest income in the prior quarter, the Residual Interest is written down to fair value, first to the extent of any unrealized gain in accumulated other comprehensive income, then through earnings as an other than temporary impairment, and the yield used to recognize subsequent income from the trust is negatively impacted.
 
We also receive income for servicing the loans in our securitization trusts. We assess the amounts received as compensation for these activities at inception and on an ongoing basis to determine if the amounts received are adequate compensation as defined in SFAS No. 140. To the extent such compensation is determined to be no more or less than adequate compensation, no servicing asset or obligation is recorded.
 
Allowance for Loan Losses
 
We maintain an allowance for loan losses at an amount sufficient to absorb losses inherent in our FFELP and Private Education Loan portfolios at the reporting date based on a projection of estimated probable net credit losses. We analyze those portfolios to determine the effects that the various stages of delinquency have on borrower default behavior and ultimate charge-off. We estimate the allowance for loan losses and losses on accrued interest income for our Managed loan portfolio using a migration analysis of delinquent and current accounts. A migration analysis is a technique used to estimate the likelihood that a loan receivable may progress through the various delinquency stages and ultimately charge-off, and is a widely used reserving methodology in the consumer finance industry. We also use the migration analysis to estimate the amount of


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uncollectible accrued interest on Private Education Loans and write off that amount against current period interest income.
 
When calculating the allowance for loan loses on Private Education Loan loss, we divide the portfolio into categories of similar risk characteristics based on loan program type, loan status (in-school, grace, repayment, forbearance, delinquency), underwriting criteria, existence or absence of a co-borrower, and aging. We then apply default and collection rate projections to each category. Our higher education Private Education Loan programs (90 percent of the Managed Private Education Loan portfolio at December 31, 2006) do not require the borrowers to begin repayment until six months after they have graduated or otherwise left school. Consequently, our loss estimates for these programs are minimal while the borrower is in school. Our career training and alternative Private Education Loan programs (10 percent of the Managed Private Education Loan portfolio at December 31, 2006) generally require the borrowers to start repaying their loans immediately. At December 31, 2006, 46 percent of the principal balance in the higher education Managed Private Education Loan portfolio is related to borrowers who are still in-school and not required to make payments. As the current portfolio ages, an increasing percentage of the borrowers will leave school and be required to begin payments on their loans. The allowance for losses will change accordingly with the percentage of borrowers in repayment.
 
Our loss estimates are based on a loss emergence period of two years. Similar to the rules governing FFELP payment requirements, our collection policies allow for periods of nonpayment for borrowers requesting additional payment grace periods upon leaving school or experiencing temporary difficulty meeting payment obligations. This is referred to as forbearance status and is considered separately in our allowance of loan losses. The majority of forbearance occurs early in the repayment term when borrowers are starting their careers (see “LENDING BUSINESS SEGMENT — Private Education Loans — Delinquencies”). At December 31, 2006, 9 percent of the Managed Private Education Loan portfolio in repayment and forbearance was in forbearance status. The loss emergence period is in alignment with our typical collection cycle and takes into account these periods of nonpayment.
 
In general, Private Education Loan principal is charged off against the allowance when the loan exceeds 212 days delinquency. Recoveries on loans charged off are considered when calculating the allowance for loan losses, and actual cash recoveries are therefore recorded directly to the allowance.
 
As a result of Sallie Mae Servicing’s Exceptional Performer (“EP”) designation for ED, the Company received 100 percent reimbursement (declining to 99 percent on July 1, 2006 under the Reconciliation Legislation, discussed below) on default claims on federally guaranteed student loans that are serviced by Sallie Mae Servicing for a period of at least 270 days before the date of default. The Company is entitled to receive this benefit as long as the Company remains in compliance with the required servicing standards, which are assessed on an annual and quarterly basis through compliance audits and other criteria. The EP designation applies to all FFELP loans that are serviced by the Company as well as default claims on federally guaranteed student loans that the Company owns but are serviced by other service providers with the EP designation.
 
The Reconciliation Legislation, signed into law on February 8, 2006, reduced the level of default insurance from 98 percent to 97 percent (effectively increasing Risk Sharing from two percent to three percent) on loans disbursed after July 1, 2006 for lenders without the EP designation. Furthermore, the bill reduced the default insurance paid to lenders/servicers with the EP designation to 99 percent from 100 percent on claims filed on or after July 1, 2006. As a result of the amended insurance levels, we established a Risk Sharing allowance as of December 31, 2005 for an estimate of losses on FFELP student loans based on the one percent reduction in default insurance for servicers with the EP designation. The reserve was established using a migration analysis similar to that described above for the Private Education Loans before applying the appropriate Risk Sharing percentage.
 
The evaluation of the provisions for loan losses is inherently subjective, as it requires material estimates that may be susceptible to significant changes. Management believes that the allowance for loan losses is appropriate to cover probable losses in the student loan portfolio.


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Effects of Consolidation Activity on Estimates
 
Consolidation activity continued at high levels in 2006 and we expect it to continue as borrowers respond to aggressive marketing in the student loan industry and look to lengthen the term of their loans and lower their monthly payments. This, in turn, has had a significant effect on a number of accounting estimates in recent years. We have updated our assumptions that are affected primarily by consolidation activity and updated the estimates used in developing the cash flows and effective yield calculations as they relate to the amortization of student loan premiums and discounts, Borrower Benefits, residual interest income and the valuation of the Residual Interest.
 
Consolidation activity affects each estimate differently depending on whether the original loans being consolidated were on-balance sheet or off-balance sheet and whether the resulting consolidation is retained by us or consolidated with a third party. When we consolidate a loan that was in our portfolio, the term of that loan is generally extended and the term of the amortization of associated student loan premiums and discounts is likewise extended to match the new term of the loan. In that process, the unamortized premium balance must be adjusted to reflect the new expected term of the consolidated loan as if it had been in place from inception.
 
The estimate of the CPR also affects the estimate of the average life of securitized trusts and therefore affects the valuation of the Residual Interest. Prepayments shorten the average life of the trust, and if all other factors remain equal, will reduce the value of the Residual Interest, the securitization gain on sale and the effective yield used to recognize interest income. Prepayments on student loans in our securitized trusts are significantly impacted by the rate at which securitized loans are consolidated. When a loan is consolidated from the trust either by us or a third party, the loan is treated as a prepayment. In cases where the loan is consolidated by us, it will be recorded as an on-balance sheet asset. We discuss the effects of changes in our CPR estimates in “LIQUIDITY AND CAPITAL RESOURCES — Securitization Activities and Liquidity Risk and Funding Long-Term.”
 
The increased activity in FFELP Consolidation Loans has led to demand for the consolidation of Private Education loans. Private Education Consolidation Loans provide an attractive refinancing opportunity to certain borrowers because they allow borrowers to lower their monthly payments and extend the life of the loan. Consolidation of Private Education Loans from off-balance sheet Private Education Loan trusts will increase the CPR used to value the Residual Interest.


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Effect of Consolidation Activity
 
The schedule below summarizes the impact of loan consolidation on each affected financial statement line item.
 
On-Balance Sheet Student Loans
 
                 
    Consolidating
           
Estimate
  Lender   Effect on Estimate   CPR   Accounting Effect
 
Premium
  Sallie Mae   Term extension   Decrease   Estimate Adjustment(1) — increase unamortized balance of premium. Reduced amortization expense going forward.
Premium
  Other lenders   Loan prepaid   Increase   Estimate Adjustment(1) — decrease unamortized balance of premium or accelerated amortization of premium.
Borrower Benefits
  Sallie Mae   Term extension   N/A   Existing Borrower Benefits reserve reversed into income — new FFELP Consolidation Loan benefit amortized over a longer term.(2)
Borrower Benefits
  Other lenders   Loan prepaid   N/A   Borrower Benefits reserve reversed into income.(2)
 
 
(1) As estimates are updated, in accordance with SFAS No. 91, the premium balance must be adjusted from inception to reflect the new expected term of the loan, as if it had been in place from inception.
 
(2) Consolidation estimates also affect the estimates of borrowers who will eventually qualify for Borrower Benefits.
 
Off-Balance Sheet Student Loans
 
                 
    Consolidating
           
Estimate
  Lender   Effect on Estimate   CPR   Accounting Effect
 
Residual Interest
  Sallie Mae or other lenders   Loan prepaid   Increase  
• Reduction in fair market value of Residual Interest resulting in either an impairment charge or reduction in prior unrealized market value gains recorded in other comprehensive income.
               
• Decrease in prospective effective yield used to recognize interest income.
 
Derivative Accounting
 
We use interest rate swaps, foreign currency swaps, interest rate futures contracts, Floor Income Contracts and interest rate cap contracts as an integral part of our overall risk management strategy to manage interest rate and foreign currency risk arising from our fixed rate and floating rate financial instruments. We account for these instruments in accordance with SFAS No. 133, “Accounting for Derivative Instruments and Hedging Activities,” which requires that every derivative instrument, including certain derivative instruments embedded in other contracts, be recorded at fair value on the balance sheet as either an asset or liability. We determine the fair value for our derivative instruments primarily by using pricing models that consider current market inputs and the contractual terms of the derivative contracts. The fair value of some derivatives are determined using counterparty valuations. Pricing models and their underlying assumptions impact the amount and timing of unrealized gains and losses recognized; the use of different pricing models or assumptions could produce different financial results. As a matter of policy, we compare the fair values of our derivatives that we


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calculate to those provided by our counterparties on a monthly basis. Any significant differences are identified and resolved appropriately.
 
SFAS No. 133 requires that changes in the fair value of derivative instruments be recognized currently in earnings unless specific hedge accounting criteria as specified by SFAS No. 133 are met. We believe that all of our derivatives are effective economic hedges and are a critical element of our interest rate risk management strategy. However, under SFAS No. 133, some of our derivatives, primarily Floor Income Contracts, certain Eurodollar futures contracts, basis swaps and equity forwards, do not qualify for “hedge treatment” under SFAS No. 133. Therefore, changes in market value along with the periodic net settlements must be recorded through the “gains (losses) on derivative and hedging activities, net” line in the income statement with no consideration for the corresponding change in fair value of the hedged item. The derivative market value adjustment is primarily caused by interest rate and foreign currency exchange rate volatility, changing credit spreads during the period, and changes in our stock price (related to equity forwards) as well as, the volume and term of derivatives not receiving hedge accounting treatment. See also “BUSINESS SEGMENTS — Limitations of ‘Core Earnings’ — Pre-tax Differences between ‘Core Earnings’ and GAAP by Business Segment — Derivative Accounting” for a detailed discussion of our accounting for derivatives.
 
SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA
 
  Condensed Statements of Income
 
                                                         
                      Increase (Decrease)  
    Years Ended December 31,     2006 vs. 2005     2005 vs. 2004  
    2006     2005     2004     $     %     $     %  
 
Net interest income
  $ 1,454     $ 1,451     $ 1,299     $ 3       %   $ 152       12 %
Less: provisions for losses
    287       203       111       84       41       92       83  
                                                         
Net interest income after provisions for losses
    1,167       1,248       1,188       (81 )     (6 )     60       5  
Gains on student loan securitizations
    902       552       375       350       63       177       47  
Servicing and securitization revenue
    553       357       561       196       55       (204 )     (36 )
Losses on securities, net
    (49 )     (64 )     (49 )     (15 )     (23 )     15       31  
Gains (losses) on derivative and hedging activities, net
    (339 )     247       849       (586 )     (237 )     (602 )     (71 )
Guarantor servicing fees
    132       115       120       17       15       (5 )     (4 )
Debt management fees
    397       360       300       37       10       60       20  
Collections revenue
    240       167       39       73       44       128       328  
Other income
    338       273       290       65       24       (17 )     (6 )
Operating expenses
    1,346       1,138       895       208       18       243       27  
Loss on GSE debt extinguishment
                221                   (221 )     (100 )
Income taxes
    834       729       642       105       14       87       14  
Minority interest in net earnings of subsidiaries
    4       6       1       (2 )           5       500  
                                                         
Net income
    1,157       1,382       1,914       (225 )     (16 )     (532 )     (28 )
Preferred stock dividends
    36       22       12       14       64       10       83  
                                                         
Net income attributable to common stock
  $ 1,121     $ 1,360     $ 1,902     $ (239 )     (18 )%   $ (542 )     (28 )%
                                                         
Basic earnings per common share
  $ 2.73     $ 3.25     $ 4.36     $ (.52 )     (16 )%   $ (1.11 )     (25 )%
                                                         
Diluted earnings per common share
  $ 2.63     $ 3.05     $ 4.04     $ (.42 )     (14 )%   $ (.99 )     (25 )%
                                                         
Dividends per common share
  $ .97     $ .85     $ .74     $ .12       14 %   $ .11       15 %
                                                         


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Condensed Balance Sheets
 
                                                 
                Increase (Decrease)  
    December 31,     2006 vs. 2005     2005 vs. 2004  
    2006     2005     $     %     $     %  
 
Assets
                                               
FFELP Stafford and Other Student Loans, net
  $ 24,841     $ 19,988     $ 4,853       24 %   $ 1,023       5 %
FFELP Consolidation Loans, net
    61,324       54,859       6,465       12       13,263       32  
Private Education Loans, net
    9,755       7,757       1,998       26       2,337       43  
Other loans, net
    1,309       1,138       171       15       90       9  
Cash and investments
    5,185       4,868       317       7       (2,107 )     (30 )
Restricted cash and investments
    3,423       3,300       123       4       1,089       49  
Retained Interest in off-balance sheet securitized loans
    3,341       2,406       935       39       90       4  
Goodwill and acquired intangible assets, net
    1,372       1,105       267       24       39       4  
Other assets
    5,586       3,918       1,668       43       (579 )     (13 )
                                                 
Total assets
  $ 116,136     $ 99,339     $ 16,797       17 %   $ 15,245       18 %
                                                 
                                                 
Liabilities and Stockholders’ Equity
                                               
Short-term borrowings
  $ 3,528     $ 3,810     $ (282 )     (7 )%   $ 1,603       73 %
Long-term borrowings
    104,559       88,119       16,440       19       12,204       16  
Other liabilities
    3,680       3,609       71       2       811       29  
                                                 
Total liabilities
    111,767       95,538       16,229       17       14,618       18  
                                                 
Minority interest in subsidiaries
    9       9                   (63 )     (88 )
Stockholders’ equity before treasury stock
    5,401       4,364       1,037       24       (765 )     (15 )
Common stock held in treasury
    1,041       572       469       82       (1,455 )     (72 )
                                                 
Total stockholders’ equity
    4,360       3,792       568       15       690       22  
                                                 
Total liabilities and stockholders’ equity
  $ 116,136     $ 99,339     $ 16,797       17 %   $ 15,245       18 %
                                                 
 
RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
 
We present the results of operations first on a consolidated basis followed by a presentation of the net interest margin with accompanying analysis presented in accordance with GAAP. As discussed in detail above in the “OVERVIEW” section, we have two primary business segments, Lending and DMO, plus a Corporate and Other business segment. Since these business segments operate in distinct business environments, the discussion following the results of our operations is primarily presented on a segment basis. See “BUSINESS SEGMENTS” for further discussion on the components of each segment. Securitization gains and the ongoing servicing and securitization income are included in “LIQUIDITY AND CAPITAL RESOURCES — Securitization Activities.” The discussion of derivative market value gains and losses is under “BUSINESS SEGMENTS — Limitations of ‘Core Earnings’ — Pre-tax Differences between ‘Core Earnings’ and GAAP by Business Segment — Derivative Accounting”.
 
CONSOLIDATED EARNINGS SUMMARY
 
The main drivers of our net income are the growth in our Managed student loan portfolio, which drives net interest income and securitization transactions, market value gains and losses on derivatives that do not receive hedge accounting treatment, the timing and size of securitization gains, growth in our fee-based business and expense control.


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Year Ended December 31, 2006 Compared to Year Ended December 31, 2005
 
For the year ended December 31, 2006, net income was $1.2 billion ($2.63 diluted earnings per share), a 16 percent decrease from the $1.4 billion in net income ($3.05 diluted earnings per share) for the year ended December 31, 2005. On a pre-tax basis, year-to-date 2006 net income of $2.0 billion was a 6 percent decrease from the $2.1 billion in pre-tax net income earned in the year ended December 31, 2005. The larger percentage decrease in year-over-year, after-tax net income versus pre-tax net income is driven by the tax accounting permanent impact of excluding $360 million in unrealized equity forward losses from 2006 taxable income and excluding $121 million of unrealized equity forward gains from 2005 taxable income. Fluctuations in the effective tax rate are driven by the permanent impact of the exclusion of the gains and losses on equity forward contracts with respect to the Company’s stock for tax purposes. Under SFAS No. 150, “Accounting for Certain Financial Instruments with Characteristics of both Liabilities and Equity,” we are required to mark the equity forward contracts to market each quarter and recognize the change in their value in income. Conversely, these unrealized gains and losses are not recognized on a tax basis. The net effect from excluding non-taxable gains and losses on equity forward contracts from taxable income was an increase in the effective tax rate from 34 percent in the year ended December 31, 2005 to 42 percent in the year ended December 31, 2006.
 
Securitization gains increased by $350 million in the year ended December 31, 2006 versus 2005. The securitization gains for 2006 were primarily driven by the three off-balance sheet Private Education Loan securitizations, which had total pre-tax gains of $830 million or 16 percent of the amount securitized, versus two off-balance sheet Private Education Loan securitizations in 2005, which had pre-tax gains of $453 million or 15 percent of the amount securitized.
 
For the year ended December 31, 2006, servicing and securitization revenue increased by $196 million to $553 million. The increase in servicing and securitization revenue can be attributed to $103 million in lower impairments on our Retained Interests and the growth in the average balance of off-balance sheet student loans. Impairments are primarily caused by the effect of FFELP Consolidation Loan activity on our FFELP Stafford securitization trusts. Pre-tax impairments on our Retained Interests in securitizations totaled $157 million for the year ended December 31, 2006 versus $260 million for the year ended December 31, 2005.
 
In 2006, net losses on derivative and hedging activities were $339 million, a decrease of $586 million from the net gains of $247 million in 2005. This decrease primarily relates to $230 million of unrealized losses in 2006, versus unrealized gains of $634 million in the prior year, which resulted in a year-over-year reduction in pre-tax income of $864 million. The effect of the unrealized losses was partially offset by a $278 million reduction in realized losses on derivatives and hedging activities on instruments that were not accounted for as hedges. The decrease in unrealized gains was primarily due to the impact of a lower SLM stock price on our equity forward contracts which resulted in a mark-to-market unrealized loss of $360 million in 2006 versus an unrealized gain of $121 million in the year-ago period, and to a decrease of $305 million in unrealized gains on Floor Income Contracts. The smaller unrealized gains on our Floor Income Contracts were primarily caused by the relationship between the Floor Income Contracts’ strike prices versus the estimated forward interest rates during 2006 versus 2005.
 
Year-over-year interest income is roughly unchanged as the $12 billion increase in average interest earning assets was offset by a 23 basis point decrease in the net interest margin. The year-over-year decrease in the net interest margin is due to higher average interest rates which reduced gross Floor Income by $155 million, and to the increase in the average balance of lower yielding cash and investments.
 
Our Managed student loan portfolio grew by $19.6 billion (or 16 percent), from $122.5 billion at December 31, 2005 to $142.1 billion at December 31, 2006. In 2006 we acquired $37.4 billion of student loans, a 24 percent increase over the $30.2 billion acquired in the year-ago period. The 2006 acquisitions included $8.4 billion in Private Education Loans, a 31 percent increase over the $6.4 billion acquired in 2005. In the year ended December 31, 2006, we originated $23.4 billion of student loans through our Preferred Channel, an increase of 9 percent over the $21.4 billion originated in the year-ago period.


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Year Ended December 31, 2005 Compared to Year Ended December 31, 2004
 
For the year ended December 31, 2005, our net income decreased by 26 percent to $1.4 billion ($3.05 diluted earnings per share) from net income of $1.9 billion ($4.04 diluted earnings per share) in 2004. On a pre-tax basis, income for the year ended December 31, 2005 decreased by 19 percent to $2.1 billion versus $2.6 billion in the year ended December 31, 2004. The larger percentage decrease in net income versus pre-tax income from 2004 to 2005 is primarily due to the increase in the effective tax rate from 25 percent in the year ended 2004 to 34 percent in the year ended 2005. In the year ended 2005, we recognized unrealized gains on our outstanding equity forward contracts of $121 million versus unrealized gains of $759 million in the year ended 2004.
 
The decrease in pre-tax income is primarily due to a $602 million decrease in the gain on derivative and hedging activities, which primarily relates to derivatives that do not receive hedge accounting treatment. Unrealized derivative gains and losses are primarily driven by the effect of changes in the fair market value of Floor Income Contracts and the effect of an increase in the value of our stock price on equity forward contracts. The smaller unrealized gains on our Floor Income Contracts in 2005 were due to fewer contracts being “in the money” to the counterparty due to spot interest rates, and to a smaller rise in forward interest rates in 2005 versus 2004. Our stock price increased in both 2005 and 2004, but the absolute increase was less in 2005 resulting in a smaller unrealized gain on our equity forward contracts in 2005.
 
The year-over-year decrease in servicing and securitization revenue was due primarily to impairments of our Retained Interests in securitizations of $260 million in 2005 versus $80 million in 2004. These impairments are largely driven by the continued rise in FFELP Consolidation Loan activity. The increase in impairment losses was partially offset by an increase in securitization gains of $177 million primarily caused by higher percentage gains on the two off-balance sheet Private Education Loan securitizations in 2005, versus the two off-balance sheet Private Education Loan securitizations in 2004.
 
The year-over-year increase in debt management fees and collections revenue of $188 million is primarily due to a full year impact of collections revenue from AFS, acquired in the third quarter of 2004, and overall growth in the contingency fee businesses. Positive impacts to pre-tax income were offset by the year-over-year increase in operating expenses of $243 million, primarily attributable to the expenses associated with three subsidiaries acquired in the second half of 2004: AFS, Southwest Student Services Corporation (“Southwest”) and Student Loan Finance Association (“SLFA”).
 
Net income for the year ended December 31, 2004 was also negatively impacted by a $221 million pre-tax loss related to the repurchase and defeasance of $3.0 billion of GSE debt in connection with the GSE Wind-Down in 2004.
 
Our Managed student loan portfolio grew by $15.1 billion, from $107.4 billion at December 31, 2004 to $122.5 billion at December 31, 2005. This growth was fueled by the acquisition of $30.2 billion of student loans in the year ended 2005, a 27 percent increase over the $23.7 billion acquired in 2004, exclusive of student loans acquired from the acquisition of Southwest and SLFA. In the year ended 2005, we originated $21.4 billion of student loans through our Preferred Channel, an increase of 19 percent over the $18.0 billion originated in the year ended 2004.


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  Average Balance Sheets
 
The following table reflects the rates earned on interest earning assets and paid on interest bearing liabilities for the years ended December 31, 2006, 2005 and 2004. This table reflects the net interest margin for the entire Company on a consolidated basis. It is included in the Lending segment discussion because that segment includes substantially all interest earning assets and interest bearing liabilities.
 
                                                 
    Years Ended December 31,  
    2006     2005     2004  
    Balance     Rate     Balance     Rate     Balance     Rate  
 
Average Assets
                                               
FFELP Stafford and Other Student Loans
  $ 21,152       6.66 %   $ 20,720       4.90 %   $ 19,317       3.76 %
FFELP Consolidation Loans
    55,119       6.43       47,082       5.31       31,773       4.30  
Private Education Loans
    8,585       11.90       6,922       9.16       4,795       7.00  
Other loans
    1,155       8.53       1,072       8.04       1,004       7.72  
Cash and investments
    8,824       5.74       6,662       4.22       11,322       2.11  
                                                 
Total interest earning assets
    94,835       6.94 %     82,458       5.48 %     68,211       4.02 %
                                                 
Non-interest earning assets
    8,550               6,990               6,497          
                                                 
Total assets
  $ 103,385             $ 89,448             $ 74,708          
                                                 
Average Liabilities and Stockholders’ Equity
                                               
Short-term borrowings
  $ 3,902       5.33 %   $ 4,517       3.93 %   $ 10,596       1.95 %
Long-term borrowings
    91,461       5.37       77,958       3.70       58,134       2.11  
                                                 
Total interest bearing liabilities
    95,363       5.37 %     82,475       3.71 %     68,730       2.09 %
                                                 
Non-interest bearing liabilities
    3,912               3,555               3,195          
Stockholders’ equity
    4,110               3,418               2,783          
                                                 
Total liabilities and stockholders’ equity
  $ 103,385             $ 89,448             $ 74,708          
                                                 
Net interest margin
            1.54 %             1.77 %             1.92 %
                                                 


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Rate/Volume Analysis
 
The following rate/volume analysis shows the relative contribution of changes in interest rates and asset volumes.
 
                         
          Increase
 
          (Decrease)
 
          Attributable to
 
    Increase
    Change in  
    (Decrease)     Rate     Volume  
 
2006 vs. 2005
                       
Interest income
  $ 2,065     $ 1,367     $ 698  
Interest expense
    2,064       1,589       475  
                         
Net interest income
  $ 1     $ (222 )   $ 223  
                         
2005 vs. 2004
                       
Interest income
  $ 1,774     $ 1,008     $ 766  
Interest expense
    1,625       1,325       300  
                         
Net interest income
  $ 149     $ (317 )   $ 466  
                         
 
The decrease in the net interest margin in 2006 versus 2005 and 2005 versus 2004 is primarily due to fluctuations in the student loan spread as discussed under “Student Loans — Student Loan Spread Analysis — On-Balance Sheet.” The net interest margin was also negatively impacted by the increase in lower yielding cash and investments being held as collateral for on-balance sheet securitization trusts and by the higher average balance of non-interest earning assets. In 2004, the net interest margin was negatively impacted by the higher average balances of lower yielding short-term investments which were being built up during 2004 as additional liquidity in anticipation of the GSE Wind-Down.
 
Student Loans
 
For both federally insured and Private Education Loans, we account for premiums paid, discounts received and certain origination costs incurred on the origination and acquisition of student loans in accordance with SFAS No. 91, “Accounting for Nonrefundable Fees and Costs Associated with Originating or Acquiring Loans and Initial Direct Costs of Leases.” The unamortized portion of the premiums and discounts is included in the carrying value of the student loan on the consolidated balance sheet. We recognize income on our student loan portfolio based on the expected yield of the student loan after giving effect to the amortization of purchase premiums and the accretion of student loan discounts, as well as interest rate reductions and rebates expected to be earned through Borrower Benefits programs. Discounts on Private Education Loans are deferred and accreted to income over the lives of the student loans. In the table below, this accretion of discounts is netted with the amortization of the premiums.
 
Student Loan Spread
 
An important performance measure closely monitored by management is the student loan spread. The student loan spread is the difference between the income earned on the student loan assets and the interest paid on the debt funding those assets. A number of factors can affect the overall student loan spread such as:
 
  •  the mix of student loans in the portfolio, with FFELP Consolidation Loans having the lowest spread and Private Education Loans having the highest spread;
 
  •  the premiums paid, borrower fees charged and capitalized costs incurred to acquire student loans which impact the spread through subsequent amortization;
 
  •  the type and level of Borrower Benefits programs for which the student loans are eligible;


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  •  the level of Floor Income and, when considering the “Core Earnings” spread, the amount of Floor Income-eligible loans that have been hedged through Floor Income Contracts; and
 
  •  funding and hedging costs.
 
  Wholesale Consolidation Loans
 
During 2006, we implemented a new loan acquisition strategy under which we began purchasing FFELP Consolidation Loans outside of our normal origination channels, primarily via the spot market. We refer to this new loan acquisition strategy as our Wholesale Consolidation Channel. FFELP Consolidation Loans acquired through this channel are considered incremental volume to our core acquisition channels, which are focused on the retail marketplace with an emphasis on our internal brand strategy. Wholesale Consolidation Loans generally command significantly higher premiums than our originated FFELP Consolidation Loans, and as a result, Wholesale Consolidation Loans have lower spreads. Since Wholesale Consolidation Loans are acquired outside of our core loan acquisition channels and have different yields and return expectations than the rest of our FFELP Consolidation Loan portfolio, we have excluded the impact of the Wholesale Consolidation Loan volume from the student loan spread analysis to provide more meaningful period-over-period comparisons on the performance of our student loan portfolio. We will therefore discuss the volume and its effect on the spread of the Wholesale Consolidation Loan portfolio separately.
 
The student loan spread is highly susceptible to liquidity, funding and interest rate risk. These risks are discussed separately in “LIQUIDITY AND CAPITAL RESOURCES” and in the “RISK FACTORS” discussion.
 
  Student Loan Spread Analysis — On-Balance Sheet
 
The following table analyzes the reported earnings from on-balance sheet student loans. For an analysis of our student loan spread for the entire portfolio of Managed student loans on a similar basis to the on-balance sheet analysis, see “LENDING BUSINESS SEGMENT — Student Loan Spread Analysis — ‘Core Earnings’ Basis.
 
                         
    Years Ended December 31,  
    2006     2005     2004  
 
On-Balance Sheet
                       
Student loan yield, before Floor Income
    7.94 %     6.22 %     4.53 %
Gross Floor Income
    .04       .25       .73  
Consolidation Loan Rebate Fees
    (.67 )     (.65 )     (.58 )
Offset Fees
                (.03 )
Borrower Benefits
    (.12 )     (.11 )     (.18 )
Premium and discount amortization
    (.14 )     (.16 )     (.13 )
                         
Student loan net yield
    7.05       5.55       4.34  
Student loan cost of funds
    (5.36 )     (3.69 )     (2.01 )
                         
Student loan spread(1)
    1.69 %     1.86 %     2.33 %
                         
Average Balances
                       
On-balance sheet student loans(1)
  $ 84,173     $ 74,724     $ 55,885  
                         
 
 
  (1)  Excludes the impact of the Wholesale Consolidation Loan portfolio on the student loan spread and average balance for the year ended December 31, 2006.
 
Discussion of Student Loan Spread — Effects of Floor Income and Derivative Accounting
 
In low interest rate environments, one of the primary drivers of fluctuations in our on-balance sheet student loan spread is the level of gross Floor Income (Floor Income earned before payments on Floor Income


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Contracts) earned in the period. Since 2004, average short-term interest rates have steadily increased resulting in a significant reduction in the level of gross Floor Income earned since 2004. We believe that we have economically hedged most of the long-term Floor Income through the sale of Floor Income Contracts, under which we receive an upfront fee and agree to pay the counterparty the Floor Income earned on a notional amount of student loans. These contracts do not qualify for hedge accounting treatment and as a result the payments on the Floor Income Contracts are included on the income statement with “gains (losses) on derivative and hedging activities, net” rather than in student loan interest income, where the offsetting Floor Income is recorded.
 
In addition to Floor Income Contracts, we also extensively use basis swaps to manage our basis risk associated with interest rate sensitive assets and liabilities. These swaps generally do not qualify as accounting hedges and are likewise required to be accounted for in the “gains (losses) on derivative and hedging activities, net” line on the income statement. As a result, they are not considered in the calculation of the cost of funds in the above table.
 
Discussion of the Year-over-Year Effect of Changes in Accounting Estimates on the On-Balance Sheet Student Loan Spread
 
As discussed in detail and summarized in a table under “CRITICAL ACCOUNTING POLICIES AND ESTIMATES,” we periodically update our estimates for changes in the student loan portfolio. Under SFAS No. 91, these changes in estimates must be reflected in the balance of the student loan from inception. We have also updated our estimates to reflect programmatic changes in our Borrower Benefits and Private Education Loan programs and have made modeling refinements to better reflect current and future conditions. The cumulative effects of the changes in estimates on the student loan spread are summarized in the table below:
 
                                                 
    Years ended December 31,  
    2006     2005     2004  
    Dollar
    Basis
    Dollar
    Basis
    Dollar
    Basis
 
    Value     Points     Value     Points     Value     Points  
 
Cumulative effect of changes in critical accounting estimates:
                                               
Premium and discount amortization
  $           $           $ (8 )     (1 )
Borrower Benefits
    10       1       23       3       5       1  
                                                 
Total cumulative effect of changes in estimates
  $ 10       1     $ 23       3     $ (3 )      
                                                 
 
In 2006, we changed our policy related to Borrower Benefit qualification requirements and updated our assumptions to reflect this policy. In both 2005 and 2004, we updated our estimates for the qualification of Borrower Benefits to account for programmatic changes, as well as, the effect of continued high levels of consolidations.
 
Discussion of Student Loan Spread — Effects of Significant Events in 2006 and 2005
 
In addition to changes in estimates discussed above, FFELP Consolidation Loan activity has the greatest effect on fluctuations in our premium amortization and Borrower Benefits as we write-off the balance of unamortized premium and the Borrower Benefit reserve when loans are consolidated away, in accordance with SFAS No. 91. See below for a further discussion of the effects of FFELP Consolidation Loans on the student loan spread versus Stafford Loans. Also see “CRITICAL ACCOUNTING POLICIES AND ESTIMATES — Effects of Consolidation Activity on Estimates.”
 
Also, there were high levels of FFELP Consolidation Loan activity in the second quarter of both 2006 and 2005 caused primarily by FFELP Stafford borrowers locking in lower interest rates by consolidating their loans prior to the July 1 interest rate reset for FFELP Stafford loans. In addition, there were two new methods of consolidation practiced by the industry in 2005 and the first half of 2006 that increased the amount of FFELP Stafford loans consolidated out of our portfolio resulting in increased premium write-offs. First,


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borrowers were permitted for the first time to consolidate their loans while still in school. Second, a significant volume of our FFELP Consolidation Loans was reconsolidated with third party lenders through the FDLP, resulting in an increase in student loan premium write-offs. In addition, the repeal of the Single Holder Rule also increased the amount of loans that consolidated with third parties. Consolidation of student loans does benefit the student loan spread to a lesser extent through the write-off of Borrower Benefits reserves associated with these loans. Both in-school consolidation and reconsolidation with third party lenders through the FDLP were restricted as of July 1, 2006 through the Higher Education Act of 2005. While FFELP Consolidation Loan activity remained high in 2006, it was lower than 2005, which contributed to lower student loan premium amortization in 2006.
 
  Discussion of Student Loan Spread — Other Year-over-Year Fluctuations — 2006 versus 2005
 
The decrease in the 2006 student loan spread versus 2005 is primarily due to the decrease in gross Floor Income discussed above. Additionally, a higher average balance of FFELP Consolidation Loans as a percentage of the on-balance sheet portfolio contributes to downward pressure on the spread. FFELP Consolidation Loans have lower spreads than other FFELP loans due to the 105 basis point Consolidation Loan Rebate Fee, higher Borrower Benefits, and funding costs due to their longer terms. These negative effects are partially offset by lower student loan premium amortization due to the extended term and a higher Special Allowance Payment (“SAP”) yield. The average balance of FFELP Consolidation Loans grew as a percentage of the average on-balance sheet FFELP student loan portfolio from 69 percent in 2005 to 72 percent in 2006.
 
  Discussion of Student Loan Spread — Other Year-over-Year Fluctuations — 2005 versus 2004
 
The decrease in the 2005 student loan spread versus 2004 is primarily due to the decrease in gross Floor Income discussed above. Additionally, higher average balance of FFELP Consolidation Loans as a percentage of the on-balance sheet portfolio contributes to downward pressure on the spread. The average balance of FFELP Consolidation Loans grew as a percentage of the average on-balance sheet FFELP student loan portfolio from 62 percent in 2004 to 69 percent in 2005.
 
Other factors that impacted the student loan spread include higher spreads on our debt funding student loans as a result of the GSE Wind-Down, partially offset by lower Borrower Benefits costs, and the absence of Offset Fees on GSE financed loans. The increase in funding costs is due to the replacement of lower cost, primarily short-term GSE funding with longer term, higher cost funding. The negative effects on the spread were partially offset by the 43 percent increase in Private Education Loans in the on-balance sheet student loan portfolio.
 
  Wholesale Consolidation Loans
 
As discussed above, the on-balance sheet student loan spread excludes the impact of our Wholesale Consolidation Loan portfolio whose average balance was $683 million for the year ended December 31, 2006. Had the impact of the Wholesale Consolidation Loan volume been included in the on-balance sheet student loan spread it would have reduced the spread by approximately 1 basis point for the year ended December 31, 2006. As of December 31, 2006, Wholesale Consolidation Loans totaled $3.6 billion, or 5.9 percent, of our total on-balance sheet FFELP Consolidation Loan portfolio.


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  Floor Income
 
For on-balance sheet student loans, gross Floor Income is included in student loan income whereas payments on Floor Income Contracts are included in the “gains (losses) on derivative and hedging activities, net” line in other income. The following table summarizes the components of Floor Income from on-balance sheet student loans, net of payments under Floor Income Contracts, for the years ended December 31, 2006, 2005 and 2004.
 
                                                                         
    Years Ended December 31,  
    2006     2005     2004  
    Fixed
    Variable
          Fixed
    Variable
          Fixed
    Variable
       
    Borrower
    Borrower
          Borrower
    Borrower
          Borrower
    Borrower
       
    Rate     Rate     Total     Rate     Rate     Total     Rate     Rate     Total  
 
Floor Income:
                                                                       
Gross Floor Income
  $ 32     $     $ 32     $ 187     $     $ 187     $ 406     $ 2     $ 408  
Payments on Floor Income Contracts
    (34 )           (34 )     (175 )           (175 )     (368 )           (368 )
                                                                         
Net Floor Income
  $ (2 )   $     $ (2 )   $ 12     $     $ 12     $ 38     $ 2     $ 40  
                                                                         
Net Floor Income in basis points
                      2             2       7             7  
                                                                         
 
Floor Income is primarily earned on fixed rate FFELP Consolidation Loans. During the first nine months of 2006, FFELP lenders reconsolidated FFELP Consolidation Loans using the Direct Loan Program as a pass-through entity. This reconsolidation has left us in a slightly oversold position on our Floor Income Contracts and as a result net Floor Income in 2006 was a loss of $2 million. The Higher Education Act of 2005 has restricted the use of reconsolidation as of July 1, 2006, so we do not foresee any material impact on our Floor Income in the future. (See also “RECENT DEVELOPMENTS” for further discussion regarding the Higher Education Act of 2005.)
 
As discussed in more detail under “LIQUIDITY AND CAPITAL RESOURCES — Securitization Activities,” when we securitize a portfolio of student loans, we estimate the future Fixed Rate Embedded Floor Income earned on off-balance sheet student loans using a discounted cash flow option pricing model and recognize the fair value of such cash flows in the initial gain on sale and subsequent valuations of the Residual Interest. Variable Rate Embedded Floor Income is recognized as earned in servicing and securitization revenue.
 
FEDERAL AND STATE TAXES
 
The Company is subject to federal and state income taxes, while the GSE was exempt from all state and local income taxes. Our effective tax rate for the years ended December 31, 2006, 2005 and 2004 was 42 percent, 34 percent and 25 percent, respectively. The effective tax rate reflects the permanent impact of the exclusion of gains and losses on equity forward contracts with respect to the Company’s stock for tax purposes. These permanent differences were a $360 million loss in 2006, a $121 million gain in 2005 and a $759 million gain in 2004.
 
BUSINESS SEGMENTS
 
The results of operations of the Company’s Lending and Debt Management Operations (“DMO”) operating segments are presented below. These defined business segments operate in distinct business environments and are considered reportable segments under SFAS No. 131, “Disclosures about Segments of an Enterprise and Related Information,” based on quantitative thresholds applied to the Company’s financial statements. In addition, we provide other complementary products and services, including guarantor and student loan servicing, through smaller operating segments that do not meet such thresholds and are aggregated in the Corporate and Other reportable segment for financial reporting purposes.


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The management reporting process measures the performance of the Company’s operating segments based on the management structure of the Company as well as the methodology used by management to evaluate performance and allocate resources. In accordance with the Rules and Regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), we prepare financial statements in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles in the United States of America (“GAAP”). In addition to evaluating the Company’s GAAP-based financial information, management, including the Company’s chief operation decision maker, evaluates the performance of the Company’s operating segments based on their profitability on a basis that, as allowed under SFAS No. 131, differs from GAAP. We refer to management’s basis of evaluating our segment results as “Core Earnings” presentations for each business segment and we refer to these performance measures in our presentations with credit rating agencies and lenders. Accordingly, information regarding the Company’s reportable segments is provided herein based on “Core Earnings,” which are discussed in detail below.
 
Our “Core Earnings” are not defined terms within GAAP and may not be comparable to similarly titled measures reported by other companies. “Core Earnings” net income reflects only current period adjustments to GAAP net income as described below. Unlike financial accounting, there is no comprehensive, authoritative guidance for management reporting and as a result, our management reporting is not necessarily comparable with similar information for any other financial institution. Our operating segments are defined by the products and services they offer or the types of customers they serve, and they reflect the manner in which financial information is currently evaluated by management. Intersegment revenues and expenses are netted within the appropriate financial statement line items consistent with the income statement presentation provided to management. Changes in management structure or allocation methodologies and procedures may result in changes in reported segment financial information.
 
“Core Earnings” are the primary financial performance measures used by management to develop the Company’s financial plans, track results, and establish corporate performance targets and incentive compensation. While “Core Earnings” are not a substitute for reported results under GAAP, we rely on “Core Earnings” in operating our business because “Core Earnings” permit management to make meaningful period-to-period comparisons of the operational and performance indicators that are most closely assessed by management. Management believes this information provides additional insight into the financial performance of the core business activities of our operating segments. Accordingly, the tables presented below reflect “Core Earnings” which is reviewed and utilized by management to manage the business for each of our reportable segments. A further discussion regarding “Core Earnings” is included under “Limitations of ‘Core Earnings’” and “Pre-tax Differences between ‘Core Earnings’ and GAAP by Business Segment.”


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The Lending operating segment includes all discussion of income and related expenses associated with the net interest margin, the student loan spread and its components, the provisions for loan losses, and other fees earned on our Managed portfolio of student loans. The DMO operating segment reflects the fees earned and expenses incurred in providing accounts receivable management and collection services. Our Corporate and Other reportable segment includes our remaining fee businesses and other corporate expenses that do not pertain directly to the primary segments identified above.
 
                         
    Year Ended
 
    December 31, 2006  
                Corporate
 
    Lending     DMO     and Other  
 
Interest income:
                       
FFELP Stafford and Other Student Loans
  $ 2,771     $     $  
FFELP Consolidation Loans
    4,690              
Private Education Loans
    2,092              
Other loans
    98              
Cash and investments
    705             7  
                         
Total interest income
    10,356             7  
Total interest expense
    7,877       23       12  
                         
Net interest income
    2,479       (23 )     (5 )
Less: provisions for losses
    303              
                         
Net interest income after provisions for losses
    2,176       (23 )     (5 )
Fee income
          397       132  
Collections revenue
          239        
Other income
    177             155  
                         
Total other income
    177       636       287  
Operating expenses(1)
    645       358       250  
                         
Income before income taxes and minority interest in net earnings of subsidiaries
    1,708       255       32  
Income tax expense(2)
    632       94       12  
Minority interest in net earnings of subsidiaries
          4        
                         
“Core Earnings” net income
  $ 1,076     $ 157     $ 20  
                         
 
 
(1) Operating expenses for the Lending, DMO, and Corporate and Other business segments include $34 million, $12 million, and $17 million, respectively, of stock option compensation expense due to the implementation of SFAS No. 123(R) in the first quarter of 2006.
 
(2) Income taxes are based on a percentage of net income before tax for the individual reportable segment.


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    Year Ended
 
    December 31, 2005  
                Corporate
 
    Lending     DMO     and Other  
 
Interest income:
                       
FFELP Stafford and Other Student Loans
  $ 2,298     $     $  
FFELP Consolidation Loans
    3,014              
Private Education Loans
    1,160              
Other loans
    85              
Cash and investments
    396             5  
                         
Total interest income
    6,953             5  
Total interest expense
    4,798       19       6  
                         
Net interest income
    2,155       (19 )     (1 )
Less: provisions for losses
    138              
                         
Net interest income after provisions for losses
    2,017       (19 )     (1 )
Fee income
          360       115  
Collections revenue
          167        
Other income
    111             125  
                         
Total other income
    111       527       240  
Operating expenses
    547       288       235  
                         
Income before income taxes and minority interest in net earnings of subsidiaries
    1,581       220       4  
Income tax expense(1)
    586       81       1  
Minority interest in net earnings of subsidiaries
    2       4        
                         
“Core Earnings” net income
  $ 993     $ 135     $ 3  
                         
 
 
(1) Income taxes are based on a percentage of net income before tax for the individual reportable segment.
 
                         
    Year Ended
 
    December 31, 2004  
                Corporate
 
    Lending     DMO     and Other  
 
Interest income:
                       
FFELP Stafford and Other Student Loans
  $ 1,715     $     $  
FFELP Consolidation Loans
    1,473              
Private Education Loans
    613              
Other loans
    74              
Cash and investments
    264             3  
                         
Total interest income
    4,139             3  
Total interest expense
    2,301       13       6  
                         
Net interest income
    1,838       (13 )     (3 )
Less: provisions for losses
    114              
                         
Net interest income after provisions for losses
    1,724       (13 )     (3 )
Fee income
          300       120  
Collections revenue
          39        
Other income
    131             130  
                         
Total other income
    131       339       250  
Loss on GSE debt and extinguishment
    221              
Operating expenses
    487       161       211  
                         
Income before income taxes and minority interest in net earnings of subsidiaries
    1,147       165       36  
Income tax expense (benefit)(1)
    430       65       (15 )
Minority interest in net earnings of subsidiaries
          1        
                         
“Core Earnings” net income
  $ 717     $ 99     $ 51  
                         
 
 
(1) Income taxes are based on a percentage of net income before tax for the individual reportable segment.


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Limitations of “Core Earnings”
 
While GAAP provides a uniform, comprehensive basis of accounting, for the reasons described above, management believes that “Core Earnings” are an important additional tool for providing a more complete understanding of the Company’s results of operations. Nevertheless, “Core Earnings” are subject to certain general and specific limitations that investors should carefully consider. For example, as stated above, unlike financial accounting, there is no comprehensive, authoritative guidance for management reporting. Our “Core Earnings” are not defined terms within GAAP and may not be comparable to similarly titled measures reported by other companies. Unlike GAAP, “Core Earnings” reflect only current period adjustments to GAAP. Accordingly, the Company’s “Core Earnings” presentation does not represent a comprehensive basis of accounting. Investors, therefore, may not compare our Company’s performance with that of other financial services companies based upon “Core Earnings.” “Core Earnings” results are only meant to supplement GAAP results by providing additional information regarding the operational and performance indicators that are most closely used by management, the Company’s board of directors, rating agencies and lenders to assess performance.
 
Other limitations arise from the specific adjustments that management makes to GAAP results to derive “Core Earnings” results. For example, in reversing the unrealized gains and losses that result from SFAS No. 133, “Accounting for Derivative Instruments and Hedging Activities,” on derivatives that do not qualify for “hedge treatment,” as well as on derivatives that do qualify but are in part ineffective because they are not perfect hedges, we focus on the long-term economic effectiveness of those instruments relative to the underlying hedged item and isolate the effects of interest rate volatility, changing credit spreads and changes in our stock price on the fair value of such instruments during the period. Under GAAP, the effects of these factors on the fair value of the derivative instruments (but not on the underlying hedged item) tend to show more volatility in the short term. While our presentation of our results on a “Core Earnings” basis provides important information regarding the performance of our Managed portfolio, a limitation of this presentation is that we are presenting the ongoing spread income on loans that have been sold to a trust managed by us. While we believe that our “Core Earnings” presentation presents the economic substance of our Managed loan portfolio, it understates earnings volatility from securitization gains. Our “Core Earnings” results exclude certain Floor Income, which is real cash income, from our reported results and therefore may understate earnings in certain periods. Management’s financial planning and valuation of operating results, however, does not take into account Floor Income because of its inherent uncertainty, except when it is economically hedged through Floor Income Contracts.
 
Pre-tax Differences between “Core Earnings” and GAAP by Business Segment
 
Our “Core Earnings” are the primary financial performance measures used by management to evaluate performance and to allocate resources. Accordingly, financial information is reported to management on a “Core Earnings” basis by reportable segment, as these are the measures used regularly by our chief operating decision maker. Our “Core Earnings” are used in developing our financial plans and tracking results, and also in establishing corporate performance targets and determining incentive compensation. Management believes this information provides additional insight into the financial performance of the Company’s core business activities. “Core Earnings” net income reflects only current period adjustments to GAAP net income, as described in the more detailed discussion of the differences between “Core Earnings” and GAAP that follows,


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which includes further detail on each specific adjustment required to reconcile our “Core Earnings” segment presentation to our GAAP earnings.
 
                                                                         
    Years Ended December 31,  
    2006     2005     2004  
                Corporate
                Corporate
                Corporate
 
    Lending     DMO     and Other     Lending     DMO     and Other     Lending     DMO     and Other  
 
“Core Earnings” adjustments:
                                                                       
Net impact of securitization accounting
  $ 532     $     $     $ (60 )   $     $     $ (152 )   $     $  
Net impact of derivative accounting
    131             (360 )     516             121       794             759  
Net impact of Floor Income
    (209 )                 (204 )                 (156 )            
Net impact of acquired intangibles
    (49 )     (34 )     (11 )     (42 )     (15 )     (4 )     (27 )     (5 )     (4 )
                                                                         
Total “Core Earnings” adjustments to GAAP
  $ 405     $ (34 )   $ (371 )   $ 210     $ (15 )   $ 117     $ 459     $ (5 )   $ 755  
                                                                         
 
1) Securitization Accounting:  Under GAAP, certain securitization transactions in our Lending operating segment are accounted for as sales of assets. Under “Core Earnings” for the Lending operating segment, we present all securitization transactions on a “Core Earnings” basis as long-term non-recourse financings. The upfront “gains” on sale from securitization transactions as well as ongoing “servicing and securitization revenue” presented in accordance with GAAP are excluded from “Core Earnings” and are replaced by the interest income, provisions for loan losses, and interest expense as they are earned or incurred on the securitization loans. We also exclude transactions with our off-balance sheet trusts from “Core Earnings” as they are considered intercompany transactions on a “Core Earnings” basis.
 
The following table summarizes “Core Earnings” securitization adjustments for the Lending operating segment for the years ended December 31, 2006, 2005 and 2004.
 
                         
    Years Ended December 31,  
    2006     2005     2004  
 
“Core Earnings” securitization adjustments:
                       
Net interest income on securitized loans, after provisions for losses
  $ (880 )   $ (935 )   $ (1,065 )
Gains on student loan securitizations
    902       552       375  
Servicing and securitization revenue
    553       357       561  
Intercompany transactions with off-balance sheet trusts
    (43 )     (34 )     (23 )
                         
Total “Core Earnings” securitization adjustments
  $ 532     $ (60 )   $ (152 )
                         
 
2) Derivative Accounting:  “Core Earnings” exclude periodic unrealized gains and losses arising primarily in our Lending operating segment, and to a lesser degree in our Corporate and Other reportable segment, that are caused primarily by the one-sided mark-to-market derivative valuations prescribed by SFAS No. 133 on derivatives that do not qualify for “hedge treatment” under GAAP. In our “Core Earnings” presentation, we recognize the economic effect of these hedges, which generally results in any cash paid or received being recognized ratably as an expense or revenue over the hedged item’s life. “Core Earnings” also exclude the gain or loss on equity forward contracts that under SFAS No. 133, are required to be accounted for as derivatives and are marked-to-market through earnings.
 
SFAS No. 133 requires that changes in the fair value of derivative instruments be recognized currently in earnings unless specific hedge accounting criteria, as specified by SFAS No. 133, are met. We believe that our derivatives are effective economic hedges, and as such, are a critical element of our interest rate risk management strategy. However, some of our derivatives, primarily Floor Income Contracts, certain basis swaps and equity forward contracts (discussed in detail below), do not qualify for “hedge treatment” as defined by SFAS No. 133, and the stand-alone derivative must be marked-to-market in the income statement with no consideration for the corresponding change in fair value of the hedged item. The gains and losses described in “Gains (losses) on derivative and hedging activities, net” are primarily caused by interest rate and foreign


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currency exchange rate volatility, changing credit spreads and changes in our stock price during the period as well as the volume and term of derivatives not receiving hedge treatment.
 
Our Floor Income Contracts are written options that must meet more stringent requirements than other hedging relationships to achieve hedge effectiveness under SFAS No. 133. Specifically, our Floor Income Contracts do not qualify for hedge accounting treatment because the paydown of principal of the student loans underlying the Floor Income embedded in those student loans does not exactly match the change in the notional amount of our written Floor Income Contracts. Under SFAS No. 133, the upfront payment is deemed a liability and changes in fair value are recorded through income throughout the life of the contract. The change in the value of Floor Income Contracts is primarily caused by changing interest rates that cause the amount of Floor Income earned on the underlying student loans and paid to the counterparties to vary. This is economically offset by the change in value of the student loan portfolio, including our Retained Interests, earning Floor Income but that offsetting change in value is not recognized under SFAS No. 133. We believe the Floor Income Contracts are economic hedges because they effectively fix the amount of Floor Income earned over the contract period, thus eliminating the timing and uncertainty that changes in interest rates can have on Floor Income for that period. Prior to SFAS No. 133, we accounted for Floor Income Contracts as hedges and amortized the upfront cash compensation ratably over the lives of the contracts.
 
Basis swaps are used to convert floating rate debt from one floating interest rate index to another to better match the interest rate characteristics of the assets financed by that debt. We primarily use basis swaps to change the index of our floating rate debt to better match the cash flows of our student loan assets that are primarily indexed to a commercial paper, Prime or Treasury bill index. In addition, we use basis swaps to convert debt indexed to the Consumer Price Index to 3 month LIBOR debt. SFAS No. 133 requires that when using basis swaps, the change in the cash flows of the hedge effectively offset both the change in the cash flows of the asset and the change in the cash flows of the liability. Our basis swaps hedge variable interest rate risk, however they generally do not meet this effectiveness test because most of our FFELP student loans can earn at either a variable or a fixed interest rate depending on market interest rates. We also have basis swaps that do not meet the SFAS No. 133 effectiveness test that economically hedge off-balance sheet instruments. As a result, under GAAP these swaps are recorded at fair value with changes in fair value reflected currently in the income statement.
 
Under SFAS No. 150, equity forward contracts that allow a net settlement option either in cash or the Company’s stock are required to be accounted for as derivatives in accordance with SFAS No. 133. As a result, we account for our equity forward contracts as derivatives in accordance with SFAS No. 133 and mark them to market through earnings. They do not qualify as effective SFAS No. 133 hedges, as a requirement to achieve hedge accounting is the hedged item must impact net income and the settlement of these contracts through the purchase of our own stock does not impact net income.
 
The table below quantifies the adjustments for derivative accounting under SFAS No. 133 on our net income for the years ended December 31, 2006, 2005 and 2004, when compared with the accounting principles employed in all years prior to the SFAS No. 133 implementation.
 
                         
    Years Ended December 31,  
    2006     2005     2004  
 
“Core Earnings” derivative adjustments:
                       
Gains (losses) on derivative and hedging activities, net, included in other income(1)
  $ (339 )   $ 247     $ 849  
Less: Realized losses on derivative and hedging activities, net(1)
    109       387       713  
                         
Unrealized gains (losses) on derivative and hedging activities, net
    (230 )     634       1,562  
Other pre-SFAS No. 133 accounting adjustments
    1       3       (9 )
                         
Total net impact of SFAS No. 133 derivative accounting
  $ (229 )   $ 637     $ 1,553  
                         
 
 
(1) See “Reclassification of Realized Gains (Losses) on Derivative and Hedging Activities” below for a detailed breakdown of the components of realized losses on derivative and hedging activities.


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Reclassification of Realized Gains (Losses) on Derivative and Hedging Activities
 
SFAS No. 133 requires net settlement income/expense on derivatives and realized gains/losses related to derivative dispositions (collectively referred to as “realized gains (losses) on derivative and hedging activities”) that do not qualify as hedges under SFAS No. 133 to be recorded in a separate income statement line item below net interest income. The table below summarizes the realized losses on derivative and hedging activities, and the associated reclassification on a “Core Earnings” basis for the years ended December 31, 2006, 2005 and 2004.
 
                         
    Years Ended December 31,  
    2006     2005     2004  
 
Reclassification of realized gains (losses) on derivative and hedging activities:
                       
Net settlement expense on Floor Income Contracts reclassified to net interest income
  $ (50 )   $ (259 )   $ (562 )
Net settlement expense on interest rate swaps reclassified to net interest income
    (59 )     (123 )     (88 )
Net realized losses on terminated derivative contracts reclassified to other income
          (5 )     (63 )
                         
Total reclassifications of realized losses on derivative and hedging activities
    (109 )     (387 )     (713 )
Add: Unrealized gains (losses) on derivative and hedging activities, net(1)
    (230 )     634       1,562  
                         
Gains (losses) on derivative and hedging activities, net
  $ (339 )   $ 247     $ 849  
                         
 
 
(1) “Unrealized gains (losses) on derivative and hedging activities, net” is comprised of the following unrealized mark-to-market gains (losses):
 
                         
    Years Ended December 31,  
    2006     2005     2004  
 
Floor Income Contracts
  $ 176     $ 481     $ 729  
Equity forward contracts
    (360 )     121       759  
Basis swaps
    (58 )     40       73  
Other
    12       (8 )     1  
                         
Total unrealized gains (losses) on derivative and hedging activities, net
  $ (230 )   $ 634     $ 1,562  
                         
 
Unrealized gains and losses on Floor Income Contracts are primarily caused by changes in interest rates. In general, an increase in interest rates results in an unrealized gain and vice versa. Unrealized gains and losses on Equity Forward Contracts fluctuate with changes in the Company’s stock price. Unrealized gains and losses on basis swaps result from changes in the spread between indices, primarily as it relates to Consumer Price Index (“CPI”) swaps economically hedging debt issuances indexed to CPI.
 
3) Floor Income:  The timing and amount (if any) of Floor Income earned in our Lending operating segment is uncertain and in excess of expected spreads. Therefore, we exclude such income from “Core Earnings” when it is not economically hedged. We employ derivatives, primarily Floor Income Contracts and futures, to economically hedge Floor Income. As discussed above in “Derivative Accounting,” these derivatives do not qualify as effective accounting hedges, and therefore, under GAAP, they are marked-to-market through the “gains (losses) on derivative and hedging activities, net” line on the income statement with no offsetting gain or loss recorded for the economically hedged items. For “Core Earnings,” we reverse the fair value adjustments on the Floor Income Contracts and futures economically hedging Floor Income and include the amortization of net premiums received in income.


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The following table summarizes the Floor Income adjustments in our Lending operating segment for the years ended December 31, 2006, 2005 and 2004.
 
                         
    Years Ended December 31,  
    2006     2005     2004  
 
“Core earnings” Floor Income adjustments:
                       
Floor Income earned on Managed loans, net of payments on Floor Income Contracts
  $     $ 19     $ 88  
Amortization of net premiums on Floor Income Contracts and futures in net interest income
    (209 )     (223 )     (194 )
Net losses related to closed Eurodollar futures contracts economically hedging Floor Income
                (50 )
                         
Total “Core Earnings” Floor Income adjustments
  $ (209 )   $ (204 )   $ (156 )
                         
 
4) Acquired intangibles:  Our “Core Earnings” exclude goodwill and intangible impairment and the amortization of acquired intangibles. For the years ended December 31, 2006, 2005 and 2004, goodwill and intangible impairment and the amortization of acquired intangibles totaled $94 million, $61 million and $36 million, respectively. In 2006, we recognized an intangible impairment of $21 million due to changes in projected interest rates and to a regulatory change related to our 9.5 percent SAP loans.
 
LENDING BUSINESS SEGMENT
 
In our Lending business segment, we originate and acquire federally guaranteed student loans, which are administered by the U.S. Department of Education (“ED”), and Private Education Loans, which are not federally or privately guaranteed. The majority of our Private Education Loans is made in conjunction with a FFELP Stafford loan and as a result is marketed through the same marketing channels as FFELP Stafford Loans. While FFELP student loans and Private Education Loans have different overall risk profiles due to the federal guarantee of the FFELP student loans, they share many of the same characteristics such as similar repayment terms, the same marketing channel and sales force, and are serviced on the same servicing platform. Finally, where possible, the borrower receives a single bill for both the federally guaranteed and privately underwritten loans.
 
The earnings growth in our Lending operating segment is primarily derived from the growth in our Managed portfolio of student loans. In 2006, the total Managed portfolio grew by $19.6 billion (16 percent) from $122.5 billion at December 31, 2005 to $142.1 billion at December 31, 2006. At December 31, 2006, our Managed FFELP student loan portfolio was $119.5 billion or 84 percent of our total Managed student loans. In addition, our Managed portfolio of Private Education Loans grew to $22.6 billion. Private Education Loans are not insured by the federal government and are underwritten in accordance with the Company’s credit policies. Our Managed FFELP loans are high quality assets with minimal credit risk as they are 99 percent guaranteed by the federal government.
 
Trends in the Lending Business Segment
 
The growth in our Lending operating segment has been largely driven by the steady growth in the demand for post-secondary education in the United States over the last decade. This growth is evident in the $37.4 billion of student loans we originated or acquired in 2006 through our “normal” acquisition channels, a 24 percent increase over the $30.2 billion of student loans acquired in 2005. Our “normal” acquisition channels exclude loans acquired in conjunction with business combinations. In 2006, we originated $23.4 billion of student loans through our Preferred Channel, an increase of 9 percent over the $21.4 billion of student loans originated through our Preferred Channel in 2005.
 
We expect the growth in the demand for post-secondary education to continue in the future due to a number of factors. First, the college age population will continue to grow as ED predicts that the college-age population will increase approximately 13 percent from 2006 to 2015. Second, we project an increase in non-traditional students (those not attending college directly from high school) and adult education. Third, tuition


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costs have risen 51 percent for four-year public institutions and 32 percent for four-year private institutions on a constant, inflation-adjusted basis since the academic year (“AY”) 1996-1997 and are projected to continue to rise at a pace greater than inflation. Management believes that these factors will drive growth in education financing well into the next decade.
 
On March 22, 2005, the Company announced that it extended both its JPMorgan Chase and Bank One student loan and loan purchase commitments to August 31, 2010. This comprehensive agreement provided for the dissolution of the joint venture between Chase and Sallie Mae.
 
JPMorgan Chase will continue to sell substantially all student loans to the Company (whether made under the Chase or Bank One brand) that are originated or serviced on our platforms. In addition, the agreement provides that substantially all Chase-branded education loans made for the July 1, 2005 to June 30, 2006 academic year (and future loans made to these borrowers) will be sold to us, including certain loans that are not originated or serviced on Sallie Mae platforms.
 
This agreement permits JPMorgan Chase to compete with us in the student loan marketplace and releases the Company from its commitment to market the Bank One and Chase brands on campus. We will continue to support its school customers through its comprehensive set of products and services, including its loan origination and servicing platforms, its family of lending brands and strategic lending partners.
 
Over the past three years, we have experienced a surge in FFELP Consolidation Loan activity as a result of historically low interest rates and aggressive marketing in the industry which has substantially changed the composition of our student loan portfolio. A number of new competitors have entered into the FFELP Consolidation Loan marketplace, as a result of very low barriers to entry for marketing and originating FFELP Consolidation Loans. For example, access to customers does not require an on-campus presence, and a ready and available secondary market exists for these loans. This, coupled with the repeal of the Single Holder Rule have made the FFELP Consolidation Loans’ marketplace more competitive and has shortened the average life of FFELP Stafford loans, making them less valuable.
 
FFELP Consolidation Loans earn a lower yield than FFELP Stafford loans due primarily to the 105 basis point Consolidation Loan Rebate Fee. This negative impact is somewhat mitigated by higher SAP spreads, the longer average life of FFELP Consolidation Loans and the greater potential to earn Floor Income. Since interest rates on FFELP Consolidation Loans originated prior to July 1, 2006 are fixed to term for the borrower, older FFELP Consolidation Loans with higher borrower rates can earn Floor Income over an extended period of time. In both 2005 and 2006, substantially all Floor Income was earned on FFELP Consolidation Loans. The Reconciliation Legislation requires lenders to rebate Floor Income on all FFELP loans originated on or after April 1, 2006, so this benefit will gradually decrease over time. During 2006, $15.8 billion of FFELP Stafford loans in our Managed loan portfolio consolidated either with us ($11.3 billion) or with other lenders ($4.5 billion). In addition, we consolidated $4.1 billion of loans from other lenders and had $2.7 billion of our FFELP Consolidation Loans reconsolidated with other lenders. The net result of consolidation activity in 2006 was a net portfolio loss of $3.1 billion. FFELP Consolidation Loans now represent 71 percent of our on-balance sheet federally guaranteed student loan portfolio and over 66 percent of our Managed federally guaranteed portfolio.
 
The increase in consolidations to third parties during 2006 is due to FFELP lenders reconsolidating FFELP Consolidation Loans using the Direct Loan Program as a pass-through entity to circumvent the statutory prohibition on the reconsolidation of FFELP Consolidation Loans and to the repeal of the Single Holder Rule as of June 15, 2006. The Higher Education Reconciliation Act of 2005 restricted reconsolidation, and as of July 1, 2006, borrowers with a FFELP Consolidation Loan may only reconsolidate with the FDLP if they are delinquent, referred to the guaranty agency for default aversion activity, and enter into the income contingent repayment program (“ICR”) in the FDLP. Borrowers may also reconsolidate an existing FFELP Consolidation Loan with a new FFELP Stafford loan.
 
To meet the increasing cost of higher education, students and parents have turned to alternative sources of education financing outside of the FFELP. A large and growing source of this supplemental education financing is provided by Private Education Loans, for which we are the largest provider. These loans are still


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primarily originated through campus-based programs but during 2006, we aggressively grew our direct-to-consumer Private Education Loans channel and expect it to be an increasing source of Private Education Loans in the future. The Private Education Loan portfolio grew by 38 percent in 2006 to $22.6 billion and now represents 16 percent of our Managed student loan portfolio, up from 13 percent in 2005.
 
Private Education Loans consist of two general types: (1) those that are designed to bridge the gap between the cost of higher education and the amount financed through either capped federally insured loans or the borrowers’ resources, and (2) those that are used to meet the needs of students in alternative learning programs such as career training, distance learning and lifelong learning programs. Most higher education Private Education Loans are made in conjunction with a FFELP Stafford loan and as such are marketed through the same channel as FFELP loans by the same sales force. Unlike FFELP loans, Private Education Loans are subject to the full credit risk of the borrower. We manage this additional risk through clearly-defined loan underwriting standards and a combination of higher interest rates and loan origination fees that compensate us for the higher risk. As a result, we earn higher spreads on Private Education Loans than on FFELP loans. Private Education Loans will continue to be an important driver of future earnings growth as the demand for post-secondary education grows and costs increase much faster than increases in federal loan limits.
 
We originate lesser quantities of mortgage and consumer loans with the intent of immediately selling the majority of the mortgage loans. Mortgage and consumer loan originations and the mortgage loan portfolio we hold were 7 percent and less than one percent, respectively, of total loan originations and total loans outstanding as of and for the year ended December 31, 2006.


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The following table includes the “Core Earnings” results of operations for our Lending business segment.
 
                                         
    Years Ended December 31,     % Increase (Decrease)  
    2006     2005     2004     2006 vs. 2005     2005 vs. 2004  
“Core Earnings” interest income:
                                       
FFELP Stafford and Other Student Loans
  $ 2,771     $ 2,298     $ 1,715       21 %     34 %
FFELP Consolidation Loans
    4,690       3,014       1,473       56       105  
Private Education Loans
    2,092       1,160       613       80       89  
Other loans
    98       85       74       15       15  
Cash and investments
    705       396       264       78       50  
                                         
Total “Core Earnings” interest income
    10,356       6,953       4,139       49       68  
Total “Core Earnings” interest expense
    7,877       4,798       2,301       64       109  
                                         
Net “Core Earnings” interest income
    2,479       2,155       1,838       15       17  
Less: provisions for losses
    303       138       114       120       21  
                                         
Net “Core Earnings” interest income after provisions for losses
    2,176       2,017       1,724       8       17  
Other income
    177       111       131       59       (15 )
Loss on GSE debt extinguishment and defeasance
                221             (100 )
Operating expenses
    645       547       487       18       12  
                                         
Income before income taxes and minority interest in net earnings of subsidiaries
    1,708       1,581       1,147       8       38  
Income taxes
    632       586       430       8       36  
                                         
Income before minority interest in net earnings of subsidiaries
    1,076       995       717       8       39  
Minority interest in net earnings of subsidiaries
          2             (100 )      
                                         
“Core Earnings” net income
  $ 1,076     $ 993     $ 717       8 %     38 %
                                         


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Summary of our Managed Student Loan Portfolio
 
The following tables summarize the components of our Managed student loan portfolio and show the changing composition of our portfolio.
 
Ending Balances (net of allowance for loan losses):
 
                                         
    December 31, 2006  
    FFELP
    FFELP
          Private
       
    Stafford and
    Consolidation
    Total
    Education
       
    Other(1)     Loans     FFELP     Loans     Total  
 
On-balance sheet:
                                       
In-school
  $ 9,745     $     $ 9,745     $ 4,353     $ 14,098  
Grace and repayment
    14,530       60,348       74,878       6,075       80,953  
                                         
Total on-balance sheet, gross
    24,275       60,348       84,623       10,428       95,051  
On-balance sheet unamortized premium/(discount)
    575       988       1,563       (365 )     1,198  
On-balance sheet allowance for losses
    (9 )     (12 )     (21 )     (308 )     (329 )
                                         
Total on-balance sheet, net
    24,841       61,324       86,165       9,755       95,920  
                                         
Off-balance sheet:
                                       
In-school
    2,047             2,047       3,892       5,939  
Grace and repayment
    12,747       17,817       30,564       9,330       39,894  
                                         
Total off-balance sheet, gross
    14,794       17,817       32,611       13,222       45,833  
Off-balance sheet unamortized premium/(discount)
    244       497       741       (303 )     438  
Off-balance sheet allowance for losses
    (10 )     (3 )     (13 )     (86 )     (99 )
                                         
Total off-balance sheet, net
    15,028       18,311       33,339       12,833       46,172  
                                         
Total Managed
  $ 39,869     $ 79,635     $ 119,504     $ 22,588     $ 142,092  
                                         
% of on-balance sheet FFELP
    29 %     71 %     100 %                
% of Managed FFELP
    33 %     67 %     100 %                
% of total
    28 %     56 %     84 %     16 %     100 %
 
                                         
    December 31, 2005  
    FFELP
    FFELP
          Private
       
    Stafford and
    Consolidation
    Total
    Education
       
    Other(1)     Loans     FFELP     Loans     Total  
 
On-balance sheet:
                                       
In-school
  $ 6,910     $     $ 6,910     $ 3,432     $ 10,342  
Grace and repayment
    12,705       54,033       66,738       4,834       71,572  
                                         
Total on-balance sheet, gross
    19,615       54,033       73,648       8,266       81,914  
On-balance sheet unamortized premium/(discount)
    379       835       1,214       (305 )     909  
On-balance sheet allowance for losses
    (6 )     (9 )     (15 )     (204 )     (219 )
                                         
Total on-balance sheet, net
    19,988       54,859       74,847       7,757       82,604  
                                         
Off-balance sheet:
                                       
In-school
    2,962             2,962       2,540       5,502  
Grace and repayment
    17,410       10,272       27,682       6,406       34,088  
                                         
Total off-balance sheet, gross
    20,372       10,272       30,644       8,946       39,590  
Off-balance sheet unamortized premium/(discount)
    306       305       611       (188 )     423  
Off-balance sheet allowance for losses
    (8 )     (2 )     (10 )     (78 )     (88 )
                                         
Total off-balance sheet, net
    20,670       10,575       31,245       8,680       39,925  
                                         
Total Managed
  $ 40,658     $ 65,434     $ 106,092     $ 16,437     $ 122,529  
                                         
% of on-balance sheet FFELP
    27 %     73 %     100 %                
% of Managed FFELP
    38 %     62 %     100 %                
% of total
    33 %     54 %     87 %     13 %     100 %
 
 
(1) FFELP category is primarily Stafford loans and also includes federally insured PLUS and HEAL loans.


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Average Balances:
 
                                         
    Year Ended December 31, 2006  
    FFELP
    FFELP
          Private
       
    Stafford and
    Consolidation
          Education
       
    Other(1)     Loans     Total FFELP     Loans     Total  
 
On-balance sheet
  $ 21,152     $ 55,119     $ 76,271     $ 8,585     $ 84,856  
Off-balance sheet
    19,546       15,652       35,198       11,138       46,336  
                                         
Total Managed
  $ 40,698     $ 70,771     $ 111,469     $ 19,723     $ 131,192  
                                         
% of on-balance sheet FFELP
    28 %     72 %     100 %                
% of Managed FFELP
    37 %     63 %     100 %                
% of total
    31 %     54 %     85 %     15 %     100 %
 
                                         
    Year Ended December 31, 2005  
    FFELP
    FFELP
          Private
       
    Stafford and
    Consolidation
          Education
       
    Other(1)     Loans     Total FFELP     Loans     Total  
 
On-balance sheet
  $ 20,720     $ 47,082     $ 67,802     $ 6,922     $ 74,724  
Off-balance sheet
    24,182       9,800       33,982       7,238       41,220  
                                         
Total Managed
  $ 44,902     $ 56,882     $ 101,784     $ 14,160     $ 115,944  
                                         
% of on-balance sheet FFELP
    31 %     69 %     100 %                
% of Managed FFELP
    44 %     56 %     100 %                
% of total
    39 %     49 %     88 %     12 %     100 %
 
                                         
    Year Ended December 31, 2004  
    FFELP
    FFELP
          Private
       
    Stafford and
    Consolidation
          Education
       
    Other(1)     Loans     Total FFELP     Loans     Total  
 
On-balance sheet
  $ 19,317     $ 31,773     $ 51,090     $ 4,795     $ 55,885  
Off-balance sheet
    27,365       7,698       35,063       5,495       40,558  
                                         
Total Managed
  $ 46,682     $ 39,471     $ 86,153     $ 10,290     $ 96,443  
                                         
% of on-balance sheet FFELP
    38 %     62 %     100 %                
% of Managed FFELP
    54 %     46 %     100 %                
% of total
    48 %     41 %     89 %     11 %     100 %
 
 
(1) FFELP category is primarily Stafford loans and also includes federally insured PLUS and HEAL loans.
 
Student Loan Spread
 
An important performance measure closely monitored by management is the student loan spread. The student loan spread is the difference between the income earned on the student loan assets and the interest paid on the debt funding those assets. A number of factors can affect the overall student loan spread such as:
 
  •  the mix of student loans in the portfolio, with FFELP Consolidation Loans having the lowest spread and Private Education Loans having the highest spread;
 
  •  the premiums paid, borrower fees charged and capitalized costs incurred to acquire student loans which impact the spread through subsequent amortization;
 
  •  the type and level of Borrower Benefits programs;


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  •  the level of Floor Income; and when considering the “Core Earnings” managed spread, the amount of Floor Income-eligible loans that have been hedged through Floor Income Contracts; and
 
  •  funding and hedging costs.
 
The student loan spread is highly susceptible to liquidity, funding and interest rate risk. These risks are discussed separately at “LIQUIDITY AND CAPITAL RESOURCES” and in the “RISK FACTORS” discussion at the front of the document.
 
Student Loan Spread Analysis — “Core Earnings” Basis
 
The following table analyzes the earnings from our portfolio of Managed student loans on a “Core Earnings” basis (see “BUSINESS SEGMENTS — Pre-tax Differences between ‘Core Earnings’ and GAAP by Business Segment”). The “Core Earnings” Basis Student Loan Spread Analysis presentation and certain components used in the calculation differ from the On-Balance Sheet Student Loan Spread Analysis presentation. The “Core Earnings” basis presentation, when compared to our on-balance sheet presentation, is different in that it:
 
  •  includes the net interest margin related to our off-balance sheet student loan securitization trusts. This includes any related fees or costs such as the Consolidation Loan Rebate Fees, premium/discount amortization and Borrower Benefits yield adjustments;
 
  •  includes the reclassification of certain derivative net settlement amounts. The net settlements on certain derivatives that do not qualify as SFAS No. 133 hedges are recorded as part of the “gain (loss) on derivative and hedging activities, net” line item on the income statement and are therefore not recognized in the student loan spread. Under this presentation, these gains and losses are reclassified to the income statement line item of the economically hedged item. For our “Core Earnings” basis student loan spread, this would primarily include: (a) reclassifying the net settlement amounts related to our written Floor Income Contracts to student loan interest income and (b) reclassifying the net settlement amounts related to certain of our basis swaps to debt interest expense;
 
  •  excludes unhedged Floor Income earned on the Managed student loan portfolio; and
 
  •  includes the amortization of upfront payments on Floor Income Contracts in student loan income that we believe are economically hedging the Floor Income.
 
As discussed above, these differences result in the “Core Earnings” basis student loan spread not being a GAAP-basis presentation. Management relies on this measure to manage our Lending business segment. Specifically, management uses the “Core Earnings” basis student loan spread to evaluate the overall economic effect that certain factors have on our student loans either on- or off-balance sheet. These factors include the overall mix of student loans in our portfolio, acquisition costs, Borrower Benefits program costs, Floor Income and funding and hedging costs. Management believes that it is important to evaluate all of these factors on a “Core Earnings” basis to gain additional information about the economic effect of these factors on our student loans under management. Management believes that this additional information assists us in making strategic decisions about the Company’s business model for the Lending business segment, including among other factors, how we acquire or originate student loans, how we fund acquisitions and originations, what Borrower Benefits we offer and what type of loans we purchase or originate. While management believes that the “Core Earnings” basis student loan spread is an important tool for evaluating the Company’s performance for the reasons described above, it is subject to certain general and specific limitations that investors should carefully consider. See “BUSINESS SEGMENTS — Limitations of ‘Core Earnings.’ ” One specific limitation is that the


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“Core Earnings” basis student loan spread includes the spread on loans that we have sold to securitization trusts.
 
                         
    Years ended December 31,  
    2006     2005     2004  
 
“Core Earnings” basis student loan yield
    8.09 %     6.32 %     4.59 %
Consolidation Loan Rebate Fees
    (.55 )     (.50 )     (.42 )
Offset Fees
                (.02 )
Borrower Benefits
    (.09 )     (.07 )     (.08 )
Premium and discount amortization
    (.16 )     (.17 )     (.13 )
                         
“Core Earnings” basis student loan net yield
    7.29       5.58       3.94  
“Core Earnings” basis student loan cost of funds
    (5.45 )     (3.80 )     (2.06 )
                         
“Core Earnings” basis student loan spread(1)
    1.84 %     1.78 %     1.88 %
                         
Average Balances
                       
On-balance sheet student loans(1)
  $ 84,173     $ 74,724     $ 55,885  
Off-balance sheet student loans
    46,336       41,220       40,558  
                         
Managed student loans
  $ 130,509     $ 115,944     $ 96,443  
                         
 
 
(1) Excludes the impact of the Wholesale Consolidation Loan portfolio on the student loan spread and average balances for the year ended December 31, 2006.
 
Discussion of the Year-over-Year Effect of Changes in Accounting Estimates on the “Core Earnings” basis Loan Spread
 
As discussed in detail and summarized in a table at “CRITICAL ACCOUNTING POLICIES AND ESTIMATES,” we periodically update our estimates for changes in the student loan portfolio. Under SFAS No. 91, these changes in estimates must be reflected in the balance from inception of the student loan. We have also updated our estimates to reflect programmatic changes in our Borrower Benefits and Private Education Loan programs and have made modeling refinements to better reflect current and future conditions. The cumulative effects of the changes in estimates are summarized in the table below:
 
                                                 
    Years Ended December 31,  
    2006     2005     2004  
    Dollar
    Basis
    Dollar
    Basis
    Dollar
    Basis
 
    Value     Points     Value     Points     Value     Points  
 
Cumulative effect of changes in critical accounting estimates:
                                               
Premium and discount amortization
  $           $           $ 12       1  
Borrower Benefits
    15       1       34       3       22       2  
                                                 
Total cumulative effect of changes in estimates
  $ 15       1     $ 34       3     $ 34       3  
                                                 
 
In 2006, we changed our policy related to Borrower Benefit qualification requirements and updated our assumptions to reflect this policy. In 2005 and 2004, we updated our estimates for the qualification for Borrower Benefits to account for programmatic changes as well as the effect of continued high levels of consolidations.
 
In 2004, we updated our estimates of the average life of our various loan programs to recognize the shifting mix of the portfolio. The net cumulative effect of these changes was a $12 million adjustment to increase the balance of the unamortized student loan premium. The difference between the effect for on-balance sheet and off-balance sheet was primarily due to a refinement in our estimates for off-balance sheet loans that did not have the same effect on-balance sheet and to the different mix of on-balance sheet loans versus the mix on a Managed Basis.


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Discussion of “Core Earnings” Basis Student Loan Spread — Effects of Significant Events in 2006 and 2005
 
In addition to changes in estimates discussed above, FFELP Consolidation Loan activity has the greatest effect on fluctuations in our premium amortization and Borrower Benefits as we write-off the balance of unamortized premium and the Borrower Benefit reserve when loans are consolidated away, in accordance with SFAS No. 91. See below for a further discussion of the effects of FFELP Consolidation Loans on the student loan spread versus Stafford Loans. See also, “CRITICAL ACCOUNTING POLICIES AND ESTIMATES — Effects of Consolidation Activity on Estimates,” above.
 
Also, there were high levels of FFELP Consolidation Loan activity in the second quarter of both 2006 and 2005 caused primarily by FFELP Stafford borrowers locking in lower interest rates by consolidating their loans prior to the July 1 interest rate reset for FFELP Stafford loans. In addition, there were two new methods of consolidation practiced by the industry in 2005 and the first half of 2006. First, borrowers were permitted for the first time to consolidate their loans while still in school. Second, a significant volume of our FFELP Consolidation Loans was reconsolidated with third party lenders through the FDLP, resulting in an increase in student loan premium write-offs. Also, the repeal of the Single Holder Rule increased the amount of loans that consolidated with third parties resulting in increased premium write-offs in the second half of the year. Consolidation of student loans does benefit the student loan spread to a lesser extent through the write-off of Borrower Benefits reserves associated with these loans. Both in-school consolidation and reconsolidation with third party through the FDLP were restricted as of July 1, 2006, through the Higher Education Act of 2005. While FFELP Consolidation Loan activity remained high in 2006, it was lower than 2005, which contributed to lower student loan premium amortization in 2006.
 
Discussion of Student Loan Spread — Other Year-over-Year Fluctuations — 2006 versus 2005
 
The decrease in the 2006 student loan spread versus 2005 is primarily due to the higher average balance of FFELP Consolidation Loans as a percentage of the on-balance sheet portfolio contributes to downward pressure on the spread. FFELP Consolidation Loans have lower spreads than other FFELP loans due to the 105 basis point Consolidation Loan Rebate Fee, higher Borrower Benefits, and funding costs due to their longer terms. These negative effects are partially offset by lower student loan premium amortization due to the extended term and a higher SAP yield. The average balance of FFELP Consolidation Loans grew as a percentage of the average Managed FFELP student loan portfolio from 56 percent in 2005 to 63 percent in 2006.
 
The 2006 student loan spread benefited from the increase in the average balance of Managed Private Education Loans as a percentage of the average Managed student loan portfolio from 12 percent in 2005 to 15 percent in 2006. Private Education Loans are subject to credit risk and therefore earn higher spreads than the Managed guaranteed student loan portfolio.
 
Discussion of Student Loan Spread — Other Year-over-Year Fluctuations — 2005 versus 2004
 
The decrease in the 2005 student loan spread versus 2004 is primarily due to the higher average balance of FFELP Consolidation Loans as a percentage of the on-balance sheet portfolio contributes to downward pressure on the spread. The average balance of FFELP Consolidation Loans grew as a percentage of the average Managed FFELP student loan portfolio from 46 percent in 2004 to 56 percent in 2005.
 
Other factors that impacted the student loan spread include higher spreads on our debt funding student loans as a result of the GSE Wind-Down, partially offset by lower Borrower Benefits costs, and the absence of Offset Fees on GSE financed loans. The increase in funding costs is due to the replacement of lower cost, primarily short-term GSE funding with longer term, higher cost funding. The negative effects on the spread were partially offset by the increase in Private Education Loans.


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Wholesale Consolidation Loans
 
As discussed under “Student Loans — Student Loan Spread Analysis — Core Earnings” Basis, we have excluded the impact of Wholesale Consolidation Loans from our student loan spread analysis both on-balance sheet and on a “Core Earnings” basis. The average balance of Wholesale Consolidation Loans was $683 million for the year ended December 31, 2006. Had the Wholesale Consolidation Loan volume been included in the “Core Earnings” basis student loan spread, it would have had no impact to the spread for the year ended December 31, 2006. As of December 31, 2006, Wholesale Consolidation Loans totaled $3.6 billion, or 4.5 percent, of our total Managed Consolidation Loan portfolio.
 
“Core Earnings” Basis Student Loan Spreads by Loan Type
 
The student loan spread continues to reflect the changing mix of loans in our portfolio, specifically the shift from FFELP Stafford loans to FFELP Consolidation Loans and the higher overall growth rate in Private Education Loans as a percentage of the total portfolio. (See “LENDING BUSINESS SEGMENT — Summary of our Managed Student Loan Portfolio — Average Balances.”)
 
The following table reflects the “Core Earnings” basis student loan spreads by product, excluding the impact of the Wholesale Consolidation Loan portfolio as discussed above, for the years ended December 31, 2006, 2005 and 2004.
 
                         
    Years Ended December 31,  
    2006     2005     2004  
 
FFELP Loan Spreads (“Core Earnings” Basis):
                       
Stafford
    1.40 %     1.48 %     1.73 %
Consolidation
    1.18       1.31       1.43  
                         
FFELP Loan Spread (“Core Earnings” Basis)
    1.26       1.39       1.59  
Private Education Loan Spreads (“Core Earnings” Basis):
                       
Before provision
    5.13 %     4.62 %     4.22 %
After provision
    3.75       3.88       2.69  


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   Floor Income — Managed Basis
 
The following table analyzes the ability of the FFELP student loans in our Managed student loan portfolio to earn Floor Income after December 31, 2006 and 2005
 
                                                 
    December 31, 2006     December 31, 2005  
    Fixed
    Variable
          Fixed
    Variable
       
    Borrower
    Borrower
          Borrower
    Borrower
       
    Rate     Rate     Total     Rate     Rate     Total  
(Dollars in billions)
                                   
 
Student loans eligible to earn Floor Income:
                                               
On-balance sheet student loans
  $ 63.0     $ 18.3     $ 81.3     $ 53.4     $ 16.0     $ 69.4  
Off-balance sheet student loans
    17.8       14.5       32.3       10.3       18.4       28.7  
                                                 
Managed student loans eligible to earn Floor Income
    80.8       32.8       113.6       63.7       34.4       98.1  
Less: notional amount of Floor Income Contracts
    (16.4 )           (16.4 )     (25.1 )           (25.1 )
                                                 
Net Managed student loans eligible to earn Floor Income
  $ 64.4     $ 32.8     $ 97.2     $ 38.6     $ 34.4     $ 73.0  
                                                 
Net Managed student loans earning Floor Income
  $ 1.0     $     $ 1.0     $ .8     $     $ .8  
                                                 
 
The reconsolidation of FFELP Consolidation Loans described above has had an unanticipated impact on FFELP Consolidation Loans underlying the Floor Income Contracts that are economically hedging the fixed borrower interest rate earned on FFELP Consolidation Loans. We have sold Floor Income Contracts to hedge the potential Floor Income from specifically identified pools of FFELP Consolidation Loans that are eligible to earn Floor Income. Since reconsolidation of FFELP Consolidation Loans is limited by law, we did not anticipate that certain lenders would circumvent this law and reconsolidate loans through the FDLP. As a consequence, higher rate FFELP Consolidation Loans that underlie certain contracts were reconsolidated and no longer match the underlying Floor Income Contract, which resulted in the notional amount of Floor Income Contracts at December 31, 2006 being slightly higher than the outstanding balance of the underlying FFELP Consolidation Loans that the Floor Income Contracts were hedging. The Higher Education Act of 2005 has restricted the use of reconsolidation as of July 1, 2006, so we do not foresee any material impact on our Floor Income in the future.
 
The following table presents a projection of the average Managed balance of FFELP Consolidation Loans whose Fixed Rate Floor Income has already been economically hedged through Floor Income Contracts for the period January 1, 2007 to March 31, 2010. These loans are both on and off-balance sheet and the related hedges do not qualify under SFAS No. 133 accounting as effective hedges.
 
                                 
    2007     2008     2009     2010  
(Dollars in billions)
                       
 
Average balance of FFELP Consolidation Loans whose Floor Income is economically hedged (Managed Basis)
  $ 16     $ 15     $ 10     $ 2  


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Private Education Loans
 
Allowance for Private Education Loan Losses
 
2005 Change in Accounting Estimate to the Allowance for Loan Losses and the Recognition of Accrued Interest Income for Private Education Loans
 
As discussed under “CRITICAL ACCOUNTING POLICIES AND ESTIMATES — Allowance for Loan Losses,” in 2005 we changed our estimate of the allowance for loan losses and accrued interest for our Managed loan portfolio to a migration analysis of delinquent and current accounts. This change in reserving methodology was accounted for as a change in estimate in accordance with APB Opinion No. 20, “Accounting Changes.”
 
Activity in the Allowance for Private Education Loan Losses
 
As discussed in detail under “CRITICAL ACCOUNTING POLICIES AND ESTIMATES,” the provisions for student loan losses represent the periodic expense of maintaining an allowance sufficient to absorb losses, net of recoveries, inherent in the portfolio of Private Education Loans.
 
The following table summarizes changes in the allowance for Private Education Loan losses for the years ended December 31, 2006, 2005 and 2004.
 
                                                                         
    Activity in Allowance for Private Education Loans  
    On-Balance Sheet     Off-Balance Sheet     Managed Basis  
    Years Ended December 31,     Years Ended December 31,     Years Ended December 31,  
    2006     2005     2004     2006     2005     2004     2006     2005     2004  
 
Allowance at beginning of period
  $ 204     $ 172     $ 166     $ 78     $ 143     $ 93     $ 282     $ 315     $ 259  
Provision for Private Education Loan losses
    258       186       130       15       3       28       273       189       158  
Change in net loss estimates
          (9 )                 (76 )                 (85 )      
                                                                         
Total provision
    258       177       130       15       (73 )     28       273       104       158  
Charge-offs
    (160 )     (154 )     (110 )     (24 )     (2 )     (6 )     (184 )     (156 )     (116 )
Recoveries
    23       19       14                         23       19       14  
                                                                         
Net charge-offs
    (137 )     (135 )     (96 )     (24 )     (2 )     (6 )     (161 )     (137 )     (102 )
                                                                         
Balance before securitization of Private Education Loans
    325       214       200       69       68       115       394       282       315  
Reduction for securitization of Private Education Loans
    (17 )     (10 )     (28 )     17       10       28                    
                                                                         
Allowance at end of period
  $ 308     $ 204     $ 172     $ 86     $ 78     $ 143     $ 394     $ 282     $ 315  
                                                                         
Net charge-offs as a percentage of average loans in repayment
    3.22 %     4.14 %     3.57 %     .43 %     .07 %     .22 %     1.62 %     1.89 %     1.92 %
Allowance as a percentage of the ending total loan balance
    3.06 %     2.56 %     3.07 %     .66 %     .89 %     2.31 %     1.71 %     1.69 %     2.67 %
Allowance as a percentage of ending loans in repayment
    6.36 %     5.57 %     6.05 %     1.26 %     1.68 %     4.27 %     3.38 %     3.40 %     5.08 %
Average coverage of net charge-offs
    2.25       1.52       1.79       3.46       29.75       24.81       2.44       2.06       3.09  
Average total loans
  $ 8,585     $ 6,922     $ 4,795     $ 11,138     $ 7,238     $ 5,495     $ 19,723     $ 14,160     $ 10,290  
Ending total loans
  $ 10,063     $ 7,961     $ 5,592     $ 12,919     $ 8,758     $ 6,205     $ 22,982     $ 16,719     $ 11,797  
Average loans in repayment
  $ 4,257     $ 3,252     $ 2,697     $ 5,721     $ 4,002     $ 2,611     $ 9,978     $ 7,254     $ 5,307  
Ending loans in repayment
  $ 4,851     $ 3,662     $ 2,842     $ 6,792     $ 4,653     $ 3,352     $ 11,643     $ 8,315     $ 6,194  


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On-Balance Sheet versus Managed Presentation
 
All Private Education Loans are initially acquired on-balance sheet. When we securitize Private Education Loans, we no longer legally own the loans and they are accounted for off-balance sheet. For our Managed presentation in the table above, when loans are securitized, we reduce the on-balance sheet allowance for amounts previously provided and then provide for these loans off-balance sheet with the total of both on and off-balance sheet being the Managed allowance.
 
When Private Education Loans in our securitized trusts settling before September 30, 2005, become 180 days delinquent, we typically exercise our contingent call option to repurchase these loans at par value out of the trust and record a loss for the difference in the par value paid and the fair market value of the loan at the time of purchase. If these loans reach the 212-day delinquency, a charge-off for the remaining balance of the loan is triggered. On a Managed Basis, the losses recorded under GAAP for loans repurchased at day 180 are reversed and the full amount is charged-off at day 212. We do not hold the contingent call option for all trusts settled after September 30, 2005.
 
When measured as a percentage of ending loans in repayment, the off-balance sheet allowance is lower than the on-balance sheet percentage because of the different mix of loans on-balance sheet and off-balance sheet, as described above. Additionally, a larger percentage of the off-balance sheet loan borrowers are still in-school status and not required to make payments on their loans. Once repayment begins, the allowance requirements increase to reflect the increased risk of loss as loans enter repayment.
 
Managed Basis Private Education Loan Loss Allowance Discussion
 
The allowance for Private Education Loan losses at December 31, 2006 grew 40 percent versus 2005, which was in direct proportion to the 40 percent growth in the balance of loans in repayment, while net charge-offs increased 18 percent year-over-year. This resulted in an improvement in the ratio of net charge-offs to average loans in repayment from 1.89 percent at December 31, 2005 to 1.62 percent at December 31, 2006. The ending balance of the allowance for Private Education Loans at December 31, 2006 resulted in an average coverage of annual net charge-offs ratio of 2.44, which is an 18 percent increase over the December 31, 2005 ratio of 2.06.
 
The seasoning and the changing mix of loans in the portfolio, coupled with the higher repayment levels associated with the growth in our Private Education Loan portfolio have more recently resulted in higher levels of charge-offs and provision. We expect these levels to continue and likely to increase.
 
The year-over-year allowance on a Managed Basis increased by $52 million from 2004 to 2005, exclusive of the adjustments related to the changes in estimate and methodology discussed above. This increase was primarily driven by the 37 percent year-over-year increase in average loans in repayment. As a result of the change in the loan loss and recovery estimates discussed above, the allowance as a percentage of ending loans in repayment decreased from 5.08 percent to 3.40 percent, and consequently the year-over-year growth rate in the provision is less than the growth rate in the portfolio.


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Delinquencies
 
The table below presents our Private Education Loan delinquency trends as of December 31, 2006, 2005 and 2004. Delinquencies have the potential to adversely impact earnings as they are an initial indication of the borrower’s potential to possibly default and as a result command a higher loan loss reserve than loans in current status. Delinquent loans also require increased servicing and collection efforts, resulting in higher operating costs.
 
                                                 
    On-Balance Sheet Private Education
 
    Loan Delinquencies  
    December 31,
    December 31,
    December 31,
 
    2006     2005     2004  
    Balance     %     Balance     %     Balance     %  
 
Loans in-school/grace/deferment(1)
  $ 5,218