Benefits for homosexuals: The Human Rights Campaign, a homosexual group, reports that over 20 percent of Fortune 500 companies now offer health insurance coverage to the domestic partners of homosexual employees. The group found that 3,572 companies, colleges, and state and local governments offer such benefits, up 25 percent from last year, when 2,856 did. Student-loan default rates: More Americans are paying back their student loans. The rate of default on payments dropped below 7 percent during fiscal 1998 for the first time ever, according to the Education Department. The rate hit a record 22.4 percent in fiscal 1990. The government also estimates that the market is still hot for these debt vehicles: 1.7 million students are taking new loans in the new academic year.