Johnson C. Smith University president and others rip federal loan policy as harming minorities

Kylie Lacey's picture

Democratic U.S. Rep. Mel Watt Monday criticized the Obama Administration’s failure to change a student loan policy that he said disproportionately hurts minority students. He spoke at a news conference at Johnson C. Smith University, where he was joined by school President Ron Carter.

At issue is the 2011 change to the Parent PLUS Loan program. The changes expanded the criteria for measuring an applicant’s family credit history.

At the news conference, Carter said only 27 percent of applicants at historically black colleges were approved for a PLUS loan last year. In the 2013-2014 academic year, the figure has fallen to 7 percent.

Enrollments also have fallen. Last fall JCSU enrolled 1,801 students, the most in the university’s 146-year history. This fall’s enrollment is 1,387.

“The policy actually works to decrease the number of poor students attending college,” Carter said. “That is reprehensible, both for them and the nation at large.”

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