Walters State drops federal loans

Walters State Community College joins rising trend in schools dropping federal loans

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"The greatest concern was should we lose Title IV funding?" Vice President of Student Affairs Foster Chason said. "The impact on the college and the number of students would have been significant." "The greatest concern was should we lose Title IV funding?" Vice President of Student Affairs Foster Chason said. "The impact on the college and the number of students would have been significant."
"This has come down to a decision that, does my daughter stop going to a school that she loves?" Michelle Richy said. "This has come down to a decision that, does my daughter stop going to a school that she loves?" Michelle Richy said.

By SAMANTHA MANNING
6 News Reporter

MORRISTOWN (WATE) - As of June 14, Walters State Community College students will no longer have access to the William D. Ford Direct Stafford Loan Program.

The school said the decision was a result of a change in federal policy in which the Department of Education now tracks student loan default rates every three years instead of two years, making the default rate jump for some schools.

Vice President of Student Affairs Foster Chason said the school had a roughly 12% student loan default rate under the two-year system, which jumped to almost 23% under the new system.

Once a school exceeds a 25% student loan default rate, the federal government will pull Title IV funding, which includes Pell Grants.

"The greatest concern was should we lose Title IV funding?" Chason said. "The impact on the college and the number of students would have been significant."

Chason said around 70% of students rely on Title IV funding, while around 550 students out of a total of 6,681 use the federal loans.

"It is something that we could not jeopardize losing for our students," Chason said.

But for students included in the 550 that rely on the federal loans, the change could mean the difference between enrollment and leaving the school.

"This has come down to a decision that, does my daughter stop going to a school that she loves?" Michelle Richy said.

Richy has a 20-year-old daughter who is going into her last year at WSCC and was relying on around $3,000 from the federal loan.

"We count on the student loans to get her through school," Richy said. "I'm currently going to school and we don't have the money to help her, sadly to say, in this economy."

Chason said there are other options for students, including state grants and the federal work study program.

"There's any number of lending agencies out there, banks, credit unions and other forms of loan agencies as well," Chason said.

Northeast State Community College in Blountville and Jackson State Community College also no longer offer the federal loans.

Roane State Community College and Pellissippi State College do still offer the federal loans.

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