WASHINGTON - Three of the largest nonprofit student loan lenders have temporarily withdrawn from lending in the Federal Family Education Loan program despite a high-profile plan by the Department of Education designed to assist non-bank lenders in financing student loans.

Brazos Higher Education Service Corp., NorthStar Education Finance Inc., and the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency, historically some of the largest issuers or obligors of tax-exempt debt backed by student loans, have suspended their FFEL lending because they cannot secure crucial "bridge loans" that they need to participate in a new, short-term liquidity program run by the Department of Education, their officials said.

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