COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann has sent letters to the presidents of the state's universities and colleges notifying them of his intent to investigate certain claims regarding the student loan industry.

Dann said he is looking into potential conflicts of interest and self-dealing. In his letters, Dann's office says it is "interested in documents relating to student loan providers, including revenue sharing agreements, referral fee agreements, preferred lender lists, consulting agreements and lender marketing materials."

Dann appears to be the fourth attorney general to undertake such an investigation. Things began in New York with Andrew Cuomo, then advanced with Illinois' Lisa Madigan and Minnesota's Lori Swanson (earlier Legal NewsLine coverage here).

Cuomo has filed suit against Education Finance Partners and settled with Sallie Mae, the nation's largest student lender, and Citicorp. He's also settled with six New York schools.

Dann said his office will examine whether college officials have taken free trips, benefited from stock deals or taken gifts that some in the student loan industry offer to financial aid officers.

In his letter, Dann is asking university and college officials to preserve paper and electronic documents, including writings, drawings, graphs, charts, photographs, sound recordings and images.

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