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College to Refuse Students Who Need Loans
March 20, 2013

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A college in Missouri is closing its doors to students who have to take out loans to attend.

College of the Ozarks, a small private college near Branson, announced the new policy, with the justification that it was aiming to look after its students' postgraduate debts. Already, the amount of student debt owed by Americans has topped $1 trillion nationwide, with the average debt of a graduate of a four-year college $22,656. Rising as well is the rate at which debt-holders are defaulting on their loans.

The college is nontraditional, not only in its evangelical focus but also in its approach to student fees. Students don't pay tuition; rather, they work on campus, in the cafeteria or in the residential buildings or doing landscaping or agricultural jobs; or they work in Branson, which is a busy vacation destination that is home to many popular attractions, including live shows performed by famous country and western acts and its newest attraction, a Titanic museum.

The college already has a low percentage of graduates accumulating debt, and the change would affect 99 of the 1,400 students enrolled, according to the admissions office. The college's endowment fund, which numbers in the hundreds of millions of dollars, would still be available to students in sharp need, the college said, but only for things like medical expenses.

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