WASHINGTON — A coalition of publicly traded, non-bank corporations that own billions of dollars of illiquid student loan auction-rate securities is pushing for a federal liquidity backstop so they can sell the ARS and have money to invest in their businesses.

The group generated a lot of media publicity earlier this fall when it released an academic report arguing there would be immense economic benefits if the federal government were to help provide liquidity at par to institutional investors that held illiquid student-loan ARS.

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