Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Transfer students don’t save money on student loans

News-communty college(will tallent)

Students who transfer to a
four-year college will accumulate an equal amount of student loan debt as those
who never transfer, according to a report released earlier this month.

The study, “A Brief Look at
Transfer Students and Financial Aid,” conducted by the Texas Guaranteed Student
Loan Corporation (TG) compared the cumulative student loan debt of transfer
students with their “native” peers, students who begin school at the university

“People have this idea that they
are somehow going to save money because they go to community college,” Carla Fletcher,
the report’s author, told the Texas Tribune. “But it looks like people end up
borrowing about the same.”

According to the report, both
transfer and “native” students who graduate from a public four-year university
will owe an average of $20,000 in debt. At private four-year institutions,
transfer students graduated with more debt than their “native” peers—$27,000 compared
to $25,000.

TG was established by the Texas
Legislature in 1979 “to provide Texas students and families with information
and services to help with the financing of higher education,” according to the
Texas Tribune.

The report considered data only for
students whose independent or dependent income was at or below the median
income for all students—$88,836 for dependent students and $25,457 for
independent ones—because, as the report stated, “One is more likely to capture
the transfer students who started at a community college because they intend to
spend less money on their college education than they would have had they
started at a four-year university.”

The report also found that transfer
students were less likely to receive financial aid benefits from a university
than their “native” peers, which may help to explain why students who spend
less time at a more expensive school still owe an equal amount of debt.

The difference in median
institutional financial aid was most prominent among Hispanic transfer students
who received just $1,400 or $3,300 less than their “native” peers. The report
also found that the difference in debt between Hispanic transfer and “native”
students was wider than any other margin.

“Transfer students receive less
grant money than ‘native’ students, especially at a four-year private
university, likely contributing to an increase in borrowing to make up the
difference,” the report stated. “Universities may be able
to help transfer students by providing them more grant and institutional aid.”

“Many students have traditionally
been guided to follow the transfer route with the assumption it will help them
save on certain college costs,” stated Fletcher. “Unfortunately, we found this
to be untrue, and, in fact, the transfer route may end up creating significant
barriers for some students,” Fletcher said, according to the website.

Steve Johnson, spokesman for the
Texas Association of Community Colleges, believes that universities should
create more effective financial aid policies for transfer students. The report
“points to the disconnect we have in financial aid policy at the state and
institutional level for transfer students,” Johnson told the Texas Tribune. 

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