UIW, SGA leaders seek college loan program’s support in Nov. 8 vote

The University of the Incarnate Word’s administration and student leaders are asking voters to support Proposition 3 in the Nov. 8 election.

If approved, the proposition would allow the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to issue general obligations bonds for the purpose of funding low, fixed-interest student loans through the longstanding College Access Loan program.

“Approval of the proposition is critical as sources of grant funds at both the state and federal level have been reduced,” according to a memo from the president’s office that the Office of Public Relations has posted in a weekday electronic newsletter. “If the proposition passes, the funds allocated to independent colleges and universities (in Texas such as UIW) are likely to increase by about 8 percent next year.”

Texas voters have reauthorized the program in six elections since 1965. CAL currently boasts one of the lowest interest rates in the nation (5.25 percent). Unlike many other types of loans available to students, the state is able to keep interest rates purposefully low because the program answers to tuition-payers, not profit margins. Up to now, the program has never relied on taxpayers to repay bond obligations or administer the program.

If passed, Proposition 3 “will significantly extend the reach of the program to serve more students than ever before,” said Amir Barzin, a student member of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. “It will also provide long-term sustainability and predictability so that the (board) can effectively respond to current and future demand for low-interest loans.

At a time when financial aid programs and family budgets alike are more strained than ever, this program has the potential to offer a low-cost alternative for students. For example, the coordinating board estimated last spring a student with a $20,000 CAL loan would save $7,500 in interest payments over 20 years compared to the federal Parent Plus loan.

“As a student myself, I understand the challenges of paying for college,” Barzin said. “For many of us, there are not enough affordable resources to cover the college cost gap.  While the CAL program alone cannot solve this problem, it can make a real difference. The outcome of Proposition 3 affects Texas students more than any other constituency. It is for this reason it is critical that Texas college students inform themselves about the amendment and register votes on Nov. 8.  This is an opportunity for students to have a direct impact on the future vitality of one of the longest-running financial aid programs in Texas history.”

Jonathan Guajardo, president of the SGA at UIW agrees and has encouraged UIW students in a website posting to make their voices heard,

“I am in support of Proposition 3,” Guajardo said. “Please take the time to exercise your right to vote.

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