WASHINGTON — A college administrator said Wednesday that she and other administrators are worried that student debt burdens are going to increase as the school closes down this fall.
The closures of the Park and Wyoming community colleges and a community college in the city of Washington, D.C., will create a debt crisis for students, said Lauren Smith, dean of the Wytheville Community College.
She and other educators say the closures could have an immediate impact on the ability of students to repay their loans.
“They are going in the same direction that we have been seeing for decades and decades,” Smith said.
“Students are being priced out of this market.
And this is really something we’ve been seeing with our debt.”
The closures were announced in late June, but the college had not yet been forced to make the decision.
The Park community college has about 700 students, while the Wyoming community college is about 6,000 students.
The college is also facing a deficit of $8,500 per student, or about $16,000 per year.
The school was created to accommodate a changing student population.
“If we close the schools, the students are going nowhere,” Smith told reporters Wednesday.
“That is the fear.
The students are already in limbo.
We are already struggling with a financial crisis that is going to last for years.”
Students and other community college employees are also concerned about the possibility of student loan default, as some students have defaulted on loans, according to a statement from the College of Education.
The statement said that students should expect a $150,000 debt payment on their loan after the school closures, and that some students could owe more than $400,000 on their loans if they default on their federal student loans.
— A community college that has had to close its doors due to declining enrollment and financial issues is now facing a debt load that will be “unprecedented,” according to an administrator.
The Wythevillians community college will close its campuses in the coming weeks, and the students will be left with only a handful of available teaching positions.
The school announced that it will close schools in the Washington, New York and Chicago area as well as Wytheland, Wash., in early October.
The closures will have an impact on more than 100 students, according a statement issued by the College.
In the Wythenvilles community college’s case, the closure will cause students to leave the college and find a better option.
“We are all looking at the fact that we don’t have a full-time faculty and staff and students,” Smith, the dean of students, told reporters.
“If we can get students to come in here and do something that they’re interested in, and we can teach them the things that they want to do and not be overwhelmed by the challenges that they are going through, then it is going in our favor.”
The college has faced an increasing amount of financial hardship as students have left for better paying jobs in cities such as San Francisco, Dallas, Houston and New York City.
Wythevilles has also struggled financially with the impact of the Zika virus and the shutdowns have forced the college to raise tuition to cover its expenses.
The costs of providing the students with tutoring, library hours, extracurricular activities and other resources have also risen as a result of the closures.
“This is going back to the old days when we had a large group of students who were struggling,” Smith added.
“We can’t afford to lose them.
It’s very hard to keep the community together.”
The closure of the two communities comes after a similar decision to close the Park community and Wyoming in late May, but Smith said that the two closures were much smaller in scope.
Park is about 200 students, Wyoming is about 400 students.
“It was really just a matter of doing what we thought was right at the time,” Smith recalled.
“There was a lot of discussion, and a lot more thought went into what was best for the students and the institution.
It wasn’t just, ‘Let’s close the parks.’
It was a very tough decision, and there was a good amount of discussion about what we wanted to do.””
Wythenville had a similar financial situation.
It was a very tough decision, and there was a good amount of discussion about what we wanted to do.”
In response to the Park closure, Smith said, “we are going out there to try to change the situation for the better.”
She added that the school will continue to offer academic programs in the areas of psychology, economics and public policy, and has plans to expand in the next few years.
“There is still a lot to do,” Smith continued.
“It is going through a very difficult time.
We’re not sure where this is going.”