Student lender Sallie Mae spent $900,000 lobbying the federal government in the fourth quarter, with the overhaul of the country's student aid program among the issues it focused on.
The amount was up 43 percent from the $630,000 the company spent in the period a year earlier, and 14 percent higher than the $790,000 it spent in the third quarter of 2009, according to a report it filed with the House clerk's office.
Sallie Mae, formally known as SLM Corp., has a critical interest in the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act. The bill would cut private lenders from the federal student loan program and have the government originate all loans.
The Congressional Budget Office has said the move would save taxpayers an estimated $87 billion, money that could then be used to help boost funding for Pell Grants, which go to the neediest students.
The bill was passed by the House last fall before getting bogged down in the Senate. Democrats now want to hitch it to the health care bill being fast-tracked in Congress.
Between October and December, Sallie Mae also lobbied officials on matters including credit card practices and 529 college savings plans, which let families invest money for college and take distributions tax-free.
Among the officials Sallie Mae lobbied were the special assistant and chief of staff to the Education Department's chief financial officer.
For 2009, the company spent a total of nearly $3.5 million on lobbying, compared with $3.2 million in 2008.
The figures do not include work by individual lobbying firms Sallie Mae may have also hired.
Shares of Sallie Mae closed up 20 cents at $12.55.