Federal policies to restrict the clientele for Guaranteed Student Loans, still the largest of all student financial-aid programs, apparently are working, according to new Education Department figures.
The volume of loans for the 1982-83 year, according to an announcement by Secretary of Education Terrel H. Bell, dropped nearly 22 percent from 1981-82 totals, from $7.8 billion to $6.1 billion. The change, he said, is "heartening evidence" that tighter eligibility requirements are "cutting the fat" from the program, "while still meeting real needs."
During the 1970's, according to federal statistics, guaranteed federal loans numbered about a million a year. When Congress expanded eligibility for the program in 1978, however, the number of participants began to rise, hitting a high of 3.5 million last year. Dollar volume also rose, from $1 billion in 1971 to last year's peak of $7.8 billion. The number of recipients dropped back last year to about 2.75 million.
A University of Wisconsin economist concluded, in a report prepared for a conference this month at the National Institute of Education in Washington, that the growth of federal student-aid programs in the last decade relieved middle-class families of some of the financial strain of paying for college but did not increase access for low-income students.
Using census data and longitudinal studies of college-going patterns of high-school seniors, W. Lee Hanson argued in his study that the proportion of low-income students in college did not significantly increase over the decade; neither, he pointed out, did the overall proportion of all high-school students choosing to go on to college.
Other researchers countered, however, that the study was skewed because it did not include independent students--who now constitute 40 percent of all Pell Grant recipients--and did not take into account the fact that college enrollments may have been artificially inflated in the early 1970's because young men enrolled then to avoid being drafted.
Moreover, they noted, it might be more accurate to say that without the financial-aid efforts of the 1970's, rates of college-going might have undergone "a sizable drop."
With or without financial aid, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is the most expensive institution in higher education, according to this fall's editions of leading guides to colleges.
A year at mit, says The College Board's College Cost Book, now costs $13,500, including extras. The basic cost for tuition, board, and fees this year is $12,500. Other high-cost institutions, according to Peterson's Guides' Competitive Colleges, are: Bennington, at $12,140; Harvard, at $12,100; St. John's College in Annapolis, Md., at $11,900; Barnard, at $11,842; Yale, at $11,790; Tufts, at $11,763; Bard, at $11,762; Sarah Lawrence, at $11,750; and the University of Pennsylvania, at $11,700.
Enrollment continued to grow at America's colleges and universities last year, with an increase of 1.6 percent in the number of full-time equivalent (fte) students during 1981-82, according to a survey conducted by The Chronicle of Higher Education.
The National Center for Education Statistics reported earlier that the number of college students--both part time and full time--was up by 2.3 percent in the fall of 1981.
But fte figures more accurately portray college enrollment, The Chronicle says, because the proportion of part-time students attending college is increasing.
Regulations signed into law on Sept. 8 by President Reagan bar students who do not register for the draft from receiving federal aid. But Yale University has announced that it will provide institutional loans to students who refuse to register.
"For the past 20 years, Yale has made loans available to needy students who are not eligible for federal aid. We will continue to do so," a statement from the university said.
The university estimates that the typical added cost to a financial-aid student who refuses to register, and thus loses federal support, will be about $3,000 to $4,000 over a four-year period.
The conjunction of rising tuition costs and diminishing federal aid has provoked many colleges and universities to devote a larger share of their resources to scholarship programs. And a number of schools are also looking to corporations for financial-aid help.
Among the efforts now under way:
Eleven private colleges in New England are hoping to raise $20 million in the next few months to lend to students at below-market rates through the sale of tax-exempt bonds.
Trinity College in Hartford has enlisted the support of seven corporations to sponsor a total of 15 freshmen. The corporations are awarding the students $5,000 each this year and may continue to help them throughout their college careers.
Harvard University is making loans to students under the federally guaranteed plus program; plus interest rates this month dropped two points to 12 percent. But while repayment begins immediately when such loans are handled by a commercial bank, the university is allowing students to defer payment until after graduation and making up the difference itself.
Responding to requests from parents who had difficulty coming up with its half-year tuition payments, Williams College last summer began allowing parents to spread out payments over 10 installments per year.
The already low proportion of black students who attend medical school could dwindle further next year as the result of reductions in federal loans, a researcher reports.
The proportion of black students in medical schools rose from 2.7 percent in 1968 to 7.5 percent in 1975 but has declined every year since, Mary K. Schleiter of the University of Chicago's medical school said at the annual meeting of the Association of American Medical Colleges this month.
She said 5.8 percent of this year's medical students are black and that the proportion could fall to "pre-1970 levels" because of cutbacks in federal loans.
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