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Local college covers costs

North Newton, Kansas -- In a time of shrinking budgets, Bethel College has found its Perkins loan program is shrinking as well.

"It's been a good revolving program. At least it was until the government started cutting it," explains Tony Graber with Bethel College Financial Aid.

Graber says the school found it can no longer sustain the program at current levels. So the college is making up the difference itself.

"We are granting the money ourselves, as a college," says Graber. "It's the right thing to do. Students sign up for financial aid, and they are awarded aid. They should have it."

Graber explains that back in 2004-05 the Federal Government backed off the amount of Perkins money it was returning to colleges.

"Perkins is and (has been) a fantastic program," says Graber. "And since then we haven't gotten any new money in. The program has still been going on and we've still been giving out money.  And then about a year and a half ago they cut the amount of money they had been giving back to us when the loans were forgiven."

 Bethel is still trying to decide how the college will handle a dwindling Perkins fun next year, but college leaders remain confident in the school's ability to offer a good financial aid package.

"Look, Bethel has some very high graduation rates," explains Graber. "We have about 80-percent of our students that graduate in just four years. We offer great financial aid. We make sure students get all the money they need. We also have some of the lowest rates of debt for students who graduate."

As for the dwindling Perkins fund?

"We are getting creative," says Graber. "We will find a way to make it work and thrive."



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