Tag archive for "Low Income"

African American Students, Diversity, Federal Loans

Student Loan Debts at Historically Black Colleges and Universities

No Comments 20 January 2017

People who attend historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) typically have larger amounts of student loan debt than those at traditional universities. Debt loads at HBCU’s tend to be larger because many students are low-income and/or first-generation.

According to the United Negro College Fund’s report, FEWER RESOURCES, MORE DEBT: Loan Debt Burdens Students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, HBCU students typically graduate with higher debt loads because they borrow at a higher rate than their non-HBCU peers. According to a 2013 study, HBCU students borrow an average of $26,266 in federal loans. Non-HBCU students borrow an average of $14,881.

HBCU students also have lower loan repayment rates than their non-HBCU counterparts. According to the report: “Seven years after leaving college, the average cohort repayment rate for HBCU students is considerably lower than that for students at non-HBCUs (59 percent vs. 85 percent).” This rate, however, does not include factors that impact repayment rates such as student economic status, labor market conditions and choice of educational program.

Another issue facing HBCU students is that more come from families with lower incomes than their non-HBCU peers. In 2005, the median family income of students at HBCUs was $28,400. That is about half the median family income ($51,400) for students who attend non-HBCUs. The discrepancy in income limits the ability of an HBCU student to pay for college. Thus, HBCU students have large amounts of unmet need that require them to take out student loans.

HBCU institutions have limited resources, which hinders their ability to provide grants to students. In 2015, the top 10 HBCU endowments to provide grants to students ranged from $34 million to $660 million. The endowments for non-HBCU institutions that year ranged from $10 billion to $36 billion.

Suggestions to reduce the HBCU student debt loan

  • Policymakers should reduce the complicated nature of the federal student aid eligibility process and provide more aid to those in need
  • Grant aid and work-study opportunities should be increased
  • Federal loans should be less costly for students and their families
  • The federal student loan servicing system repayment process should be more manageable, effective and efficient

College Spotlight

Get to Know Washington College and George’s Brigade

No Comments 07 November 2016


Washington College is passionate about the past and excited about the future. As the first college chartered in the United States, students are encouraged to connect to their roots and learn how history can relate to today’s issues. At the same time, the college offers challenging liberal arts coursework in its newly renovated facilities and encourages students to engage in “all hands on learning.” The college keeps tuition as low as possible and makes financial aid available to everyone who needs it to make sure all students can participate in their hands-on approach to learning.

The campus is located in the quaint Chestertown, MD, just 90 minutes away Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C., allowing students to enjoy the benefits of both small town and city life. With an undergraduate population of 1,450 students and a student to faculty ratio of 12-to-1, Washington College is a tight-knight community with academic conversations that expand beyond the classroom.

George’s Brigade
The college understands the importance of learning, but also recognizes that not every student can readily access higher education. In order to narrow that gap, Washington College started the George’s Brigade program to attract and support high-ability, high-need students. Pioneered by the college’s president, Shelia Bair, George’s Brigade seeks to improve barriers to college access by addressing some of the biggest issues first-generation and lower-income students face.
In an effort to ease the transition to college, students are allowed to apply in groups from the same community or school. The college realizes that first-generation students, especially those from urban areas, may find the transition to a rural area and a small liberal arts school difficult. By allowing students to create a support system of friends and familiar faces, students will have a better chance at college success.

Another aspect of George’s Brigade helps to ease the financial burden on students who come from lower-income backgrounds. All accepted students will have 100% of their financial need met, including room and board. Additionally, students who do wish to take out loans for other incidentals will be required to cap them at $2500 a year in an effort to limit the amount of debt they graduate with.

Once students are accepted, they will also get to participate in a number of activities and programs to further support them on campus. Pre-orientation, for example, offers students the chance to give students unique experiences that bond them with their cohort through leadership activities and trips. Throughout the year, students will also participate in a mentoring program, cultural trips, one-one-one advising and more.

Students who wish to apply to George’s Brigade must be nominated by a counselor either connected to their school or community-based organization. They’ll be required to submit a standard Washington College Admissions Application, their FAFSA, and their counselor nomination form. Students who wish to apply for George’s Brigade with the Regular Decision timeline need to submit their materials by February 15th, 2017.

Washington College prepares its students for rich and fulfilling lives. The rigorous curriculum fosters a community of well-spoken, highly-motivated and diverse students. The surrounding historic areas encourage students to discover and explore cultures and communities other than their own. If you are looking for a college that will provide a lifetime of learning and leadership, Washington College is the place for you. Check out their College Greenlight profile!

Please email Cindy Childs (cchilds2@washcoll.edu), Assistant Vice President of Admissions and Financial Aid, with questions.

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