But, Attorney General Jay Nixon sued the board because he said it violated Missouri's open meetings law when it first approved the sale without a public hearing.

Ironically, Friday's meeting began with a two-and-a-half-hour closed session which the board said it needed to discuss personnel and legal matters. Missouri's Sunshine Law allows such exceptions during open meetings.

Then, the public part of the meeting at the Lake of the Ozarks featured officials from several Missouri colleges, who had three minutes apiece to ask the board to reapprove Gov. Blunt's sale of $2.4 billion in student loans.

"MOHELA's plan to provide basic funding for these priorities, we firmly believe, illustrates MOHELA's willingness to invest in higher education in this state," said Jay Dade, president of MU Alumni Association.

The plan would generate a half-billion dollars for campus projects such as building construction.

But, critics, who had the same three-minute limit, said the loan sale will hurt the loan authority so much that it could not survive.

"We find it unconscionable that the governor and legislature intend to change a structure that is currently working so well and divert those funds almost entirely to projects at schools that have not recently enlisted in helping build MOHELA into the strong status and organization that it has today," said Alana Jennings of Park University.

MOHELA has about 600,000 borrowers. The board hopes to wrap up the sale in May.

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