Chicago area college slashes tuition to help students avoid loan debt

John Garcia Image
Tuesday, March 7, 2023
Private college slashes tuition to help students avoid loan debt
Trinity Christian College is slashing tuition as they try to help students avoid student loans in the first place.

PALOS HEIGHTS, Ill. (WLS) -- New data from the federal government shows Illinois leads the country in applications for student loan debt relief.

And while the Biden administration faces a legal challenge in its plan to forgive some of that debt, one local school is taking action now to reduce the cost of college.

Trinity Christian College is a small, private college with about 1,000 students, most of whom will leave with little or no student loan debt.

Karen Jegadish will graduate this spring with no college loans to repay.

"Being able to leave college without debt is a huge relief to my family, knowing I can start a career fresh," Jegadish said.

Trinity administrators say they are trying to make it that way for all their students, so they are slashing the cost of tuition from $38,800, to $19,800. And through business partnerships they are helping all students get paid internships, which offset the cost and get them a jump on their careers.

"We've gone to work on the front end to create economic pathways that prevent students from debt," said Dr. Aaron Kuecker, president of Trinity Christian College.

The U.S. Supreme Court is currently considering challenges to President Biden's student loan forgiveness plan, which would eliminate $10,000 to 20,000 in student debt for millions. It would especially affect Black college graduates, who according to a recent study owe an average of $25,000 more in student loan debt than white college graduates.

"These borrowers have anxiety and an inability to move forward in economic mobility," said Brittani Williams, a senior policy analyst at Education Trust.

At Trinity, they are trying to help students avoid the student loans in the first place.

"It's important to us to think about students in a holistic way, with their financial well-being, ready to contribute to their communities," Kuecker said.

Trinity's plans call for current students to keep their current tuition and financial aid in place until they graduate. Incoming students will pay the lower tuition starting in the fall.