No Repayment Plan, No Loan

Tidewater Community College, in Virginia, will soon require students to go above and beyond Education Department requirements to receive federal loan funds. Starting next fall, students who want the college to certify their eligibility for student loans must complete personal budget worksheets, outlining a "realistic picture of their financial situation" both before and after graduation, and a student loan repayment plan estimating how their monthly payments fit into those budgets.

Tidewater’s recognition that it needs "to take greater responsibility for educating its students on the implications of financial aid debt," as its administration recently argued to its board, comes at a time when other community colleges are actively discouraging their students from taking out loans to pay for their education.

For example, last month in North Carolina, the state legislature voted to allow community colleges to opt out of offering federal loans to their students, a requirement that had been approved only a year earlier. Several community college presidents in the state had expressed concern that participation in the federal loan program would put their students at risk of losing federal financial aid if too many students at their institution do not repay their loans.

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