Since the recession hit, college students
have seen their tuition go up and their opportunities for financial aid go down. In Georgia, lawmakers this year changed the state's HOPE scholarship program by increasing the qualifying academic requirements for full tuition and no longer paying for books and fees, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution
. But, the state started offering low-interest loans (just 1 percent) of no more than $10,000 for students who have exhausted all of their resources -- including federal and state loans, scholarships and grants -- and still can't afford to get their degree. Georgia is one example of states recently starting new college loan programs to help financially stressed students, according to Stateline.org
's Ben Wieder. Georgia is paying for its program with a $20 million legislative appropriation, but other states pay for their loan programs with bond issuances. According to Stateline
, state-funded loans have lower default rates than federal ones, possibly because they have stricter credit requirements, smaller and more manageable applicant pools, and do more to educate borrowers about what they're getting into.