Washington, D.C. The chairman of the Senate education committee urged the Bush administration Sunday to block student loan companies from accessing a national database that holds confidential information on tens of millions of students.
The request by Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., came after The Washington Post reported on inappropriate searches of the database that could violate federal rules and raise concerns about data mining and abuses of privacy.
The problem has so alarmed officials at the U.S. Department of Education that they are considering a temporary shutdown of the system, which contains 60 million student records.
"Until the security of the database can be ensured, I urge you to block the use of the database by private lenders," Kennedy wrote in a letter to Education Secretary Margaret Spellings.