Friday, July 01, 2016

Rural community colleges, mainly in South, more likely to block students' access to federal loans

Rural community-college students are more than twice as likely as urban and suburban community college students to attend schools that block access to federal loans, says a report by the Institute for College Access and Success. The advocacy group found that 16.9 percent of rural community-college students have no access to federal student loans, compared to 6.9 percent of urban students. In 11 states, more than 10 percent of community college students lack access to federal loans, and in eight states, including five in the South, more than 20 percent lack access. (Institute for College Access and Success map)
"Nearly a quarter of the nation’s 1,097 community colleges do not offer federal student loans," Danielle Douglas-Gabriel reports for The Washington Post.  "Most community college students do not take out student loans—just 37 percent of people who complete an associate’s degree have borrowed for it—but policy analysts at the institute say students who need the help should have access to the most affordable options."

James Hermes, associate vice president of government relations at the American Association of Community Colleges, "said community colleges often are reluctant to participate in the federal loan program out of concern that students will borrow excessively and fail to repay the money," Douglas-Gabriel writes. "Schools that amass high loan default rates face the threat of losing access to other types of federal financial aid, like Pell grants, upon which so many community college students rely." (Read more)

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