Colleges Offer Graduates Help Repaying Loans
The financial-aid benefit, which targets students who expect to pursue careers in low-paying public-service fields, aims to help colleges attract and retain students who might otherwise enroll somewhere cheaper, or nowhere at all.
“When we have an excellent student we know will be successful here (but) who has that anxiety about student loans, this is one more tool for us,” says Jeff Abernathy, president of Alma (Mich.) College, which is testing the concept with about 10 students this fall. “We are making myriad attempts to help our students find their way to a private liberal arts education, (particularly) students who might feel like they’ve got to go to a lower-cost public institution.”
At least seven other schools — mostly small Christian colleges — offer the option as a strategy to boost enrollments in tough economic times. A growing number of college freshmen say they aren’t attending their top college choice even if they are accepted there, often because of cost, says an annual survey by UCLA’s Higher Education Research Institute. In last fall’s survey, 62% said the economy affected where they enrolled.