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B.C. private colleges lose student loan designation

Students default rates often exceed 40% compared to 5% for public schools

Private career colleges in British Columbia will be getting a break after the province notified 10 schools that their students would no longer be eligible for student loans.

Under rules implemented four years ago, any post-secondary institution where at least 28 per cent of its students default on their loans, the school loses its designation. In addition to the 10 schools that lost their status in July another 14 private schools were told that they would be monitored during 2011. As the Vancouver Sun reported, in some cases default rates exceeded 40 per cent, compared to the five per cent default rate at public institutions.

Julie Bradley, executive director of the B.C. Career College Association, says the rules unfairly target entire institutions when the reason for default may be a student’s socioeconomic status, or poor career prospects for particular programs. “Why penalize an entire school if it’s just one program?” she said.

To address objections from the sector, a Monday announcement from the Ministry of Science and Universities, said that changes are to take place in the fall that “will allow more specific examination of programs and may allow an institution to maintain its designation overall but not allow [financial aid] to a specific program.”

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