News 12 at 11 o'clock / Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Augusta Tech sign. Augusta Tech no longer offering Direct Loans, students worry.
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Krystal Basey has been looking forward to graduation for years.
Now, when she thinks about graduation, all she feels is worry.
"I have busted my behind to work as hard as I can to get through this program, and the finish line is fourth months away," Basey explained. "Four ... months ... away."
She's not sure she'll be able to cross it now that Augusta Tech is dropping its Federal Direct Loan Program.
"We actually heard about this through word of mouth, and I think that was what was so discouraging," Basey said.
It led Basey and other students to meet with President Terry Elam on Wednesday, who explained some of the other options students will have.
"We're going to offer the private loans to them, and we'll offer other financial aid packages if they will come in and talk to us," Elam said.
What students want to know is, why get rid of the Direct Loan option?
Elam says the school owed more than $700,000 due to students taking loan money and then dropping out. He says that's what led to the decision to discontinue direct loans.
"We have to pay the federal government the money back -- the money's gone. The student's gone. Well, that has totaled up this year to $733,000," Elam explained.
"I understand all that, but it does affect a great number of students," said Jason Dickerson, one of the students who met with Elam.
"A lot of students sacrifice to come to school and they can't work full time," said Richard Morrison, another student who met with the president.
Some students say private loans, which require credit checks, are not an option -- and now, they're not sure what to do.
"If we don't have credit or if our parents can't cosign for us for a loan or anything like that ... we're just stuck," said Rachel Brouhard, an Augusta Tech student.
"For those of us that are so close to getting what we worked so hard for, what else are we supposed to do?" said Emily Jacobson, another Augusta Tech student.
"We're being reprimanded for something that we didn't even do," Basey said.