California Community College Students Stand Up for Federal Student Loan Access

Most community college students don’t need to take out loans to cover college costs, but for those who do, federal student loans are the safest, most affordable form of borrowing. Unlike private loans or credit cards, federal loans come with several consumer protections including fixed interest rates, Income-Based Repayment, and Public Service Loan Forgiveness.  Unfortunately, an increasing number of community colleges across the country are choosing not to offer federal loans to their students, and California stands out as the state with the greatest number of community college students – over 200,000 and growing – without access.

Too frequently, colleges make this decision based on inflated concerns about the risks of offering loans to students.  Colleges where too many borrowers default on their loans can lose eligibility to offer either loans or grants in future years, but colleges where very few students borrow in the first place – like virtually all the California Community Colleges (CCCs) – have special protections from these sanctions. (See our Cohort Default Rate Resources Page for more on what cohort default rates represent, why they matter, and individual college rates.) But many colleges – including Victor Valley College, the most recent CCC we know of to stop offering federal loans – don’t know about or understand these protections.  Given how much unmet need CCC students have, the fact that colleges are choosing to take important financing options away from students is distressing.

In recognition of the critical importance of access to federal loans, the Student Senate for California Community Colleges (SSCCC) recently passed a resolution at its Spring 2012 General Assembly to strongly support CCC student access to federal loans and urge all CCCs to make federal loans available to their students. The California Community College Association of Student Trustees felt the issue was so important that the organization took the unprecedented step of signaling their support of the resolution in advance of the SSCCC vote.  We will continue to partner with these student groups to make sure that the colleges are listening to their students, and understand their low risk of sanctions, before making decisions that undermine college affordability and success.

Posted in California Access & Success, Community Colleges | Tagged | 1 Comment

One Response to California Community College Students Stand Up for Federal Student Loan Access

  1. Matt says:

    I applaud the schools getting rid of federal loans. It may be hard for a lot of people to understand but by cutting off students from loans, they’re setting their students up for easier success when they graduate. I know this may be forcing the students to look into other loaning programs but ultimately it’s not allowing them to maintain the easy “Spend now, pay later” mentality. Believe it or not, school can be paid for with cash. I’m currently a 20 year old heading into my third year at a public school in ohio. I’m taking challenging courses in Electrical Engineering and working part time during school and working full time over the summers. I’ve made it through my first two years without having any monetary assistance from my family or loans. I’m maintaining a 3.5 gpa and am on track to graduate completely debt free. It’s not easy but it can be done, and will be done if someone really wants to be able to graduate without being chained to debt. Why would would anyone want to enter the most important financial years of their life thousands of dollars in the hole? Work Hard and Pay Cash People. It CAN happen

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