Administrators at Virginia’s to Tidewater Community College will now make students go through some extra steps to access student loans. This legally questionable initiative comes under the guise of debt management.

According to an article by David Moltz in USA Today:

Starting next fall, students who want the college to certify their eligibility for student loans must complete personal budget worksheets, outlining a “realistic picture of their financial situation” both before and after graduation, and a student loan repayment plan estimating how their monthly payments fit into those budgets.

While her institution looks to be in good shape, Deborah DiCroce, Tidewater’s president, said she felt the college could do more to help its students “borrow responsibly” and make “sound investments” in their education.

Well this is probably a violation of federal law. Since it’s not your money, Tidewater Community College, you can’t make students do special things to access it.

It’s missing the point. While all of this talk about sound investments and responsible borrowing sounds reasonable, these debt management schemes address only the marginal aspects of student loans.

Tidewater Community College costs about $4,000 a year. That’s not too bad for a community college but the best way for people to properly manage their finances is for them to have less debt. If you’re so worried about helping students make sound investments in their education, charge less.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer