The Post gives us too much credit for our small role in exposing the scandalous 9.5 percent interest rate that the Department of Education is paying to some student loan companies ["Student Loans (cont'd)," editorial, Oct. 4].

Nearly a year ago, long before we released our report, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) introduced legislation to stop the payments.

At the same time, Reps. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Dale E. Kildee (D-Mich.) requested that the Government Accountability Office review the situation. Our August report would not have been possible without the groundwork done by these members of Congress.

While Democrats were investigating this needless waste, Republicans who could have done something about it turned a blind eye. For example, not one of 17 higher education hearings held by House education panels in this Congress addressed lender subsidies. Instead, two entire hearings were devoted to building the case that borrowers are paying too little interest. One hearing was focused on the argument that for-profit trade schools should get more taxpayer funding. And at one hearing, praise was heard for financial management practices at the Education Department at the same time that department officials were inexplicably ordering their own auditors to allow the unchecked growth of 9.5 percent loans.

ROBERT SHIREMAN

Executive Director

Institute for College Access and Success

Berkeley, Calif.