The Congressional Research Service has just released three reports that examine the current financial situation in the U.S. They are good background pieces for any student writing about these issues.
Bear Stearns: Crisis and "Rescue" for a Major Provider of Mortgage-Related Products
Government Interventions in Financial Markets: Economic and Historic Analysis of Subprime Mortgage Options
Averting Financial Crisis
All these can be found on OpenCRS, a new website that collects and makes freely available reports from the Congressional Research Service. They have an RSS feed if you'd like to be alerted when new reports are posted.