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FIRST ON 3: College student falls victim to federal loan changes


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- About this time every year students get ready for school. At Cape Fear Community College, registration is this week, and many students are looking for financial aid. For some, that aid will not be available.

The US Department of Education recently implemented what is known as program integrity rules. As a result a student's eligibility for loans is limited based on time. That means a student can only get financial aid for 150 percent of the time that is normally allotted to complete a degree, certificate or diploma.

This was not good news for Brandon Eaton. The 28-year-old had been going to Cape Fear Community College on and off for the past couple of years. Now his financial aid is gone.

"They sent me an e-mail and said you're no longer eligible for financial aid. Now you can't get your tuition unless you try to file an appeal," Eaton said. "They said the best thing they could do would be in 15 days give me some more information, but that's well past when tuition is due and past the cut off for buying my books on credit. So either way I'm out a semester of school."

CFCC Director of Financial Aid Jo-Ann Craig said the time away from school is never counted against a student in regards to this rule. She also said that the school has already processed more than 5,200 students for $21 million in federal Pell Grants. That is $3 million more than all of last year.

None of those statistics do much for Eaton who will miss at least a semester of school and without financial aid and cannot pay for a place to live for the time being.

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