TCU students using state student loans will continue to have access to loans after a Texas constitutional amendment was passed by Texas voters this Election Day.
Proposition 3, which allows the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to issue general obligation bonds to finance student loans, was approved by voters 351,957 to 310,211 on Nov. 8.
“I think it’s important that Proposition 3 passed because there are students that definitely can’t afford college,” said Aaron Hampton, a sophomore vocal music education major who uses state student loans.
“Having the student loans there available to them will help them be able to go to college and afford an education,” Hampton said.
Proposition 3 allows the continuation of the Hinson-Hazlewood (HH) College Student Loan Program which issues College Access Loans.
College Access Loans are available to all Texas residents “who attend public or private higher education institutions in Texas,” according to the House Research Organization, a nonpartisan independent department of the Texas House of Representatives.
Students must also be in good academic standing with the institution and have a favorable credit standing, according to the HH Loan Program website.
“Student demand for low-interest loans with low fixed rates has increased as the recession has reduced access to other financial aid programs,” according to the House Research Organization.
With an interest rate of 5.25 percent at the start of fall 2011, College Access Loans have been popular recently at many universities, including TCU.
“About 630 students at TCU utilized the College Access Loan (CAL) that Proposition 3 refers to,” Melet Leafgreen, Assistant Director of Loan Programs at TCU, wrote in an email.
“The average loan amount per year for TCU students in that program is about $15,000,” Leafgreen said.
According to Mike Scott, Director of Scholarships and Student Financial Aid at TCU, the student loans offered through the program total over $13 million at TCU.
CALs can be critical to students affording college.
“They are very important because TCU’s tuition is very high along with housing and meal plans,” Hampton said. “For me, it’s very important that I’m able to supplement my scholarships and grants with student loans.”
If Proposition 3 did not pass, the Hinson-Hazlewood Program would not have been able to receive any additional bond authorization. This means CALs would cease to be issued after remaining bond authorization ran out.
According the House Research Organization, the remaining amount of unissued bond authorization was projected to be exhausted by 2013.
Given increased tuition costs and a decline in federal alternatives, this potential end of state student loans would have affected many current sophomores and freshmen at TCU.
“I will actually be able to finish up my degree here at TCU,” Hampton said. “I’m very happy that Proposition 3 passed."