ACU is an expensive school, and most students need help to pay for it. Â In fact, only 30 percent of students pay tuition without loans. What does that mean for those of us who just can’t afford that? After searching for scholarships and grants, the final possibility is a loan. Private school loans have an extremely high interest rate, which may deter students from accepting them. However, there is one loan available to Texas residents that is more reasonable in several aspects. The College Access Loan has a fixed interest rate of 5.25 percent, significantly lower than the Parent Plus Loan or other privately funded loans. Texas voters will decide Nov. 8 whether or not to continue the CAL program. A CAL is a great option for students, and Texas voters need to keep it available to students.
The CAL program is funded by bonds – not tax-payer dollars. For this reason, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board is able to keep the interest at a low, fixed rate. This alone should be the deciding factor for voters. The CAL program supports itself and does not add any burden to the state’s debt. The bonds pay for tuition; the student repays via loan payments. Taxpayer money plays no role.
Compared to other loans, CAL saves students a lot of money. The Federal PLUS loan comes with a 7.9 percent interest rate. If students have a $20,000 CAL loan, they will save $7,500 in interest payments over twenty years in comparison to the PLUS loan. High interest rates makeÂ repayment of loans a struggle for many students. The CAL program makes the loan process more affordable. The CAL creates less debt at a lower interest rate.
The CAL loan is also the most common loan on campus. About 200 students use private loans; about 300 students use Federal PLUS Loans; and 367 students use CAL for a total of $5.7 million.
It is important that we support legislation that continues the CAL loan. It aids a significant portion of ACU’s student body and other institutions across the state. The CAL offers students a manageable loan to help their pursuit of higher education. We must vote Nov. 8Â in order to continue this program. Encourage your friends and family to vote as well. Let’s continue to help students across the state afford their college experience. To find your voting district, call the Taylor County Elections Office at 674-1216. Early voting ends tonight at 7 p.m., and voting begins November 8.