Should a Minimum GPA Be Required to Renew Student Loans?

The answer to this question would generally depend on the point of view – student or observer. I fit both of those categories as a parent and a student who recently completed a BS degree twenty years after acquiring my AS degree in computer programming. Utilizing both of those views I would support the requirement for a specific level of GPA in order to maintain student loans. By the way, I am still paying off my loans and my final GPA at Barton College (Wilson, NC) was 3.32.

Would students consider education to be more of a commitment if they had a college loan GPA requirement higher than the college’s minimum? I believe so. To make it even more interesting and rewarding, the interest rate and length of time that the loan remains interest-free could be tied to the individual’s grade point average at graduation.

Of course, there has to be a certain amount of leeway built into the system. Requiring a minimum GPA in order to renew a loan for the next year would be an excellent approach that will have this “stretch” built in. The student will know that there will not be a loan for the next year unless the minimum is met at the end of the current year. This will allow for occasional faltering grades and maybe even an entire poor semester since the grade point average is just that – an average.

Would this approach to college loans have a positive effect on the students themselves? Overall, yes. Those who “take the ball and run with it” will graduate with an excellent GPA and better employment prospects than the lower scoring students. Because an internship is required for most degrees now, this same attitude and approach should also be applied to the job experience obtained during this “on the job” training. Combining an outstanding GPA, glowing instructor recommendations, and an excellent reference from your internship supervisors should make a positive impression on any prospective employer.

What would I suggest as the minimum required by FAFSA to maintain a college loan from year to year? My suggestion would be a minimum of 2.6. The reasoning is that most colleges will require a minimum of 2.0 in order to be invited back for the next year. If the loan administrator’s guidelines included a 30% GPA increase over the college’s minimum, combined with the above suggestions, this would provide more incentive to a truly motivated student.

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