States of Denial Where Community College Students Lack Access to Federal Student Loans

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The Institute for College Access and Success (TICAS)


Every year, millions of college students borrow money to help bridge the gap between college costs and available income, savings, and grants. Experts agree that, for those who need to borrow to pay for college, federal student loans are the safest and most affordable option. Unfortunately, some colleges choose not to participate in the federal student loan program, preventing their students from borrowing federal loans when needed. Without access to federal student loans, students who cannot afford the cost of college after available grants and scholarships are left between a rock and a hard place. They might borrow private education loans or rely on credit cards, both of which are more expensive, riskier, and lack the repayment options and protections of federal student loans. Alternatively, they might work longer hours to pay the bills or cut back on the number of classes they take each term – choices that research has consistently found to reduce students’ chances of completing a degree or certificate.



Student loan programs, degree completion, educational attainment