South Florida College Students Face Changes in Student Loan Availability


Students in South Florida will soon find it more difficult to get student loans than ever before. Those that are most impacted by this change are students attending Broward College, which also happens to be one of Florida’s largest community colleges.

Kent Dunston is now spearheading a new two hour financial aid lesson that is mandatory for students to attend before they can receive any financial assistance. The point of Dunston’s lesson is to essentially frighten students into making wise financial decisions and not allowing their loans to go into default.

It’s safe to say that placing pressure on students prior to even receiving any aid comes in large part due to the pressure that schools are feeling stemming from the more the $1.2 trillion in student loans nationwide. Schools are now being penalized if a certain percentage of their students are in default on their loans and the punishment comes in the form of federal aid being reduced or even taken away.

Another way Broward College is trying reduce the amount of debt that is held by its students is by refusing unsubsidized loans. These are by far the most expensive loans for students as they are required to begin paying on the interest right away. Going a step further than other schools in the state, they are also no longer accepting private loans or allowing students to take out more loans they actually need to cover school expenses.

These new ways for accepting aid and lecturing students before enrollment is all part of an experiment that is taking place at 28 community, four year and online colleges. Dunston is in charge of monitoring the more than 60,000 students at Broward College and hopes there is an improvement due to the combination of loan refusals and only allowing students to take what they need in terms of financial aid.

Dunston says, “We want to assure ourselves that they understand what the hooks are on the back end of these programs.”

So far it seems like this may be a promising change for Broward College. The default rate for the college has gone down from 13.7% in default to 12%.

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