Generous repayment plans have soured many investors on bonds backed by federally guaranteed student loans. But it could have been worse.

These programs slow the rate of repayment on Federal Family Education Loans, putting the bonds they back at risk of technical default if the securities fail to pay off at maturity. When Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch Ratings raised the alarm early in 2015, eventually putting some $100 billion of bonds under review for downgrade, the market sold off heavily. New issuance ground to a halt.

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