Seeking other options to best meet students’ needs

Published 12:10 pm Saturday, March 23, 2013

To the Editor:

We appreciate the opportunity to share information on Paul D. Camp Community College’s financial aid policies. Maintaining robust financial aid opportunities is critical to ensuring that students get a quality education at the least expense. Paul D. Camp Community College’s guiding principle and major goal in this regard is that students leave our institution with little to no debt. (We know that college loan debt is a huge issue for many 4-year college graduates.)

In response to a recent letter writer’s question and concern (“What kind of college doesn’t accept loans”, Sunday, March 17), it is accurate to state that Paul D. Camp Community College does not make federal direct student loans. There are a number of reasons for this practice, with default rates being a particular concern. In fact, the issue of student loan default has been the primary reason many community colleges in Virginia do not make federal direct student loans. (Within the Virginia Community College System, 35% of our colleges do not participate in the federal direct student loan program.)

In addition, it’s important to note that federal direct student loans are difficult and expensive to manage due to their complexity and the very high oversight requirements of the federal government. A loan program with a high default rate would put all the college’s financial aid programs through the federal government at risk of termination. Additionally, Paul D. Camp Community College has very few requests for these types of loans.

Finally, the College reviews this matter annually to ensure our tuition remains affordable leveraging the grant and scholarship programs we do offer. There may come a time when our involvement in the federal direct loan program is necessary because of high college costs and large student demand. For now, running such a program is not appropriate for the College, nor is it a required additional expense. Moreover, we continue to seek other options to best meet the needs of all our students. They include referring students to local banks and credit unions and recommending that they apply early to qualify for scholarships and grants.

Our goal remains to be the best quality and affordable education for our students and communities.

Dr. Paul Wm. Conco, President
Paul D. Camp Community College