Proposition on student loans goes to vote

A proposition that affects $752,000 of funding for Rice University students goes to vote on Nov. 8. If it passes, Proposition 3 will authorize the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) to utilize up to $1.86 billion to finance student loans for those attending public and private universities in Texas. These loans bear a comparatively low flat interest rate of 5.25 percent for the 2011-2012 school year, which is down from 6 percent last year, and have been in existence since 1965. The program has undergone multiple funding increases and name changes and is currently known as the College Access Loan Program.

To qualify for the program, a student must be a Texas resident, be enrolled in a college, university or similar education program at least half-time, meet the academic requirements set by the institution and receive a favorable credit evaluation or provide a cosigner in good standing. Those who qualify for the program may borrow up to the cost of attendance less other financial aid.

With the money received from this program, Rice offered 34 annual loans this year totaling $752,000. Student Association President Georgia Lagoudas said this amount demonstrated the proposition's significant impact on Rice students. She added that she and 19 other student body presidents expressed their support for the amendment on behalf of the university by signing an op-ed by Amir Barzin, a student member of the THECB, which expressed the importance of student support for the proposition.

"This proposition provides loans to students, so it's not taxpayer money," Lagoudas said. "This low-interest loan program gives more people a chance to go to college."