A group of 32 federal lawmakers are calling for stepped up assistance from the Federal Reserve Board for student loan lenders, including state-level issuers of auction-rate securities that are backed by payments on student loans, which have been hammered by the auction-rate turmoil.

In a letter sent to Fed chairman Ben Bernanke, the lawmakers, led by Rep. Paul Kanjorski, D-Pa., head of the House Financial Services capital markets subcommittee, urged the Fed to use emergency powers to grant "non-bank lenders" access to a $200 billion lending facility that the Fed unveiled last week to help resolve liquidity problems facing big Wall Street banks.

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