Students at Augusta Technical College will have one less option for loans to fund their education. The school will soon end its Direct Loan program.
The Direct Loan is also known as the "Stafford Loan." Augusta Tech has offered the program for two years. But starting this fall, it will no longer be an option.
Administrators says the dollars and cents just don't add up.
After completing four years of college, Elbony Jones is keying into opportunities to further her education at Augusta Tech. In the past, she was able to use a Stafford Loan to finance her future degree. Jones says, "Pell and Hope really paid for my tuition but the living expenses for campus is really high so that's the only reason why I had to take out that Stafford Loan."
But soon, that's won't be an option for students at Augusta Tech. The school plans to stop using the program as part of its financial aid package. This will leaving students without a key tool when laying the foundation for a quality education. "I don't think it's fair because a lot of people don't have the means and way or some kind of trust fund saved up for them to go to school," Jones explains.
Augusta Tech's Vice President of Student Affairs Eddie Howard says the loan program was implemented to help students. Augusta Tech Vice President of Student Affairs says, "we started the program about two years ago and we did that as a measure to kind of lessen the gap because there were some changes with Hope."
It turns out, it hurt the school.
A first year student can take the maximum allotted loan of 95 hundred dollars to pay the 39 hundred dollar annual tuition. That student ends up with a 56 hundred dollar refund. If that person withdraws within the first 28 days the school is left paying the government nearly 95 hundred dollars.
"It creates a variety of problems and so we think the best thing to do is to pull out because like I said we've accumulated close to $700,000 in debt," explains Howard.
Elbony Jones says fellow students shouldn't let the end of a program knock students offline.
She says, "I would say never give up on your education because in today's job market an education is required."
Again, the school will stop offering the Direct Loan this fall. However, the pell grant and Hope scholarship as well as private loans will still be offered through financial aid at the school.
This only applies to Augusta Tech right now, and does not affect any other local colleges and universities.
Eddie Howard says there are a few other schools in that system that are weighing the same option.
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