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Bill changing loan program mandate heads to NC gov

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RALEIGH, NC (AP) -- North Carolina's community colleges wouldn't be forced to participate in the federal student loan program in legislation heading to Gov. Bev Perdue's desk.

The measure given final legislative approval in a party-line Senate vote Monday night reverses a 2010 law requiring all 58 campuses to join the low-interest loan program by July 1. Thirty-eight campuses didn't participate as of earlier this year.

Campus leaders and Republican legislators backing the reversal say campus trustees should decide whether they want students to incur debt.

Democratic amendments designed to discourage high-interest private loans or require more campus reporting were defeated. Bill opponents said the opt-outs would make it harder for low-income students to change careers.

Perdue can sign the bill, veto it or let it become law without a signature.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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