It was while standing in line for lunch at a Howard University cafeteria when Corey Arvinger learned that he was unable to pay for his meal, his dorm room or his classes.
The 20-year-old sophomore was told in midsemester that funds he expected under the federal PLUS program had been pulled in the wake of policy changes and new eligibility requirements by the U.S. Department of Education.
Students and administrators at historically black colleges and universities, known as HBCUs, such as Howard say these changes are placing particular burdens on minority families.
HBCU officials said they were given no advance notice of the changed loan standards, that students with the loans were not grandfathered into the policies, and that their students typically lack long credit histories and accumulated net worth compared with white applicants. They also are not ruling out a court fight to force the Obama administration to reverse the changes.
“We’re going to continue to pursue the legislative process to find a better solution,” said Johnny C. Taylor, president and CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. “[But] if at some point we determine that there is no agreement, then we may have to consider going to the courts.
“We are not itching for a fight, [but] we need to do what is necessary to protect what is the most vulnerable and fragile in our society,” he added.
Mr. Arvinger claims he was blindsided by the new loan policies, which forced him to drop out of Howard.