Carroll Community College students will have a new opportunity to help pay for their education as they enroll in classes for the fall semester.
The college announced Monday that it will participate in the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program beginning this fall, marking the first time the college has offered students a loan program.
College President Faye Pappalardo said the state of the economy led the college to add the option of enrolling in the loan program for students.
"In these economic times, it just seems that students are really in need of money in order to come to college," she said.
Carroll was one of three community colleges statewide that did not offer students direct loans, according to Jody Kallis, legislative liaison with the Maryland Association of Community Colleges.
Baltimore City Community College and Chesapeake College do not offer students direct loans, although Chesapeake does offer Perkins Loans to students, Kallis said.
Pappalardo said the college has been discussing the possibility of offering a loan program for years, but made the decision to offer the loan about a year ago.
The college needed about a year to implement the program and hire two additional staff members in financial aid, she said.
John Gay, director of financial aid at Carroll Community College, said it is too early in the process to estimate how many students may enroll in the loan program's first year.
"Right now we don't know what that impact is going to look like," he said.
Tuition at Carroll Community College for in-county students is $113 per credit hour.
Gay said the loan amount a student receives will be based on their year at the school and their dependency status.
"Every student will be different," he said.
Students must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to show financial aid in order to apply for a loan.
The direct loans available include subsidized loans, unsubsidized loans and PLUS loans.
Subsidized loans are for students who demonstrate financial need, based on their FAFSA. No interest is charged while the student is enrolled in school as long as he or she maintains at least half-time status. The loans remain interest-free during deferment and grace periods.
Unsubsidized loans are not based on financial need and interest is charged during all periods, including during the time when the student is in school.
PLUS loans are unsubsidized loans borrowed by the parent or legal guardian for dependent students. PLUS loans involve interest charged during all periods.
For more information, visit www.carrollcc.edu or www.studentaid.gov.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun