Loan problems cut down on SMU students

Enrollment at St. Matthew’s University has dropped this semester by eight per cent as students face increasing difficulties in securing loans for their education.

John Marvin, dean of the university, said numbers were down this year compared to last year’s record enrolment figures.

He said: ‘Our enrollment is down about eight per cent versus our historic peak this time last year.

‘While there is financial aid available for our students, credit terms are more strict, so this is limiting educational affordability for some students.’

In July last year, the university announced it was launching a new and expanded credit-based financial aid programme provided by Ed-Invest for the fall 2008 term, after students ran into problems borrowing when two major lenders ceased processing loans.

Last year, the Education Resource Institute, known as TERI, and Health Xpress, stopped processing loans. More than half of the university’s students had been using those lenders to help fund their schooling.

The university initially offered a tuition assistance plan until it teamed up with another financial institution, Ed-Invest to offer loans to students. Ed-Invest, which has been operating since 1992, specialises in providing loan programmes for medical schools outside the US.

The university is also waiving the $75 application fee for students applying for the summer term by 1 April.

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