Not all colleges participate in federal student loan programs. Some community colleges, for instance, have opted out because they’re wary of the Education Department’s new rules regarding student loan default rates, which will penalize schools where the “cohort default rate” is 30 percent or higher.
At such schools, students will no longer have access to federal loans or Pell grants. That could spell disaster for some community colleges, where Pell grant recipients far outnumber students receiving federal loans.
In today’s Pope Center feature, Harry Painter points out that two-thirds of community colleges in North Carolina have decided not to offer federal loans. In 2010, the state’s Democrat-controlled legislature mandated that they do so, but 2012’s incoming Republican majority set in motion a repeal of that law. Painter writes:
The passion of the Democrats over this issue likely stems from the notion, pushed from President Obama on down, that policymakers should eradicate barriers to college access at all costs. However, the failure to consider the impact on Pell grants must be weighed against the access provided by loans.
Painter also criticizes a new report from the Institute for College Access and Success which states that community colleges “do their students a great disservice” by not offering federal loans. Read the full article here.