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(SLM) - Get SLM Corp Report

, an education finance company commonly known as Sallie Mae, said Thursday its third-quarter earnings fell 39%.

After preferred stock dividends, the Reston, Va.-based company earned $254.3 million, or 60 cents a share, in the quarter, compared with $424.1 million, or 95 cents a share, a year ago. The recent-quarter earnings included pretax net losses on derivative and hedging activities of $131 million compared to pretax net gains of $316 million in the year-ago period. The company reported "core earnings" of $321 million, or 73 cents a share, in the quarter. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call were expecting earnings of 72 cents a share in the most recent quarter.

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Net interest income fell 12.2% to $337.8 million and total other income increased 9.9% to $551.2 million.

Its total managed student loan portfolio rose 14% to $137 billion, driven by 36% increase in education loan purchases.

"In the third quarter, we delivered at the high end of our 15 to 20 percent earnings-per-share goal. Our portfolio growth, combined with the performance of our fee-based businesses, continue to position us very well in a growing student loan marketplace," the company said.

Shares of SLM were down 82 cents, or 1.7% at $46.85 in recent trading Thursday.

This story was created through a joint venture between and IRIS.