The latest threat to efforts to ensure all North Carolina community college students can access federal student loans on their campus is an effort to run local bills (and here and here) that would exempt certain communities from the requirement that all community colleges participate in the federal loan program. Earlier in the session the Governor vetoed a measure that would have allowed campuses to opt-out of the program, likely leading to the status quo where nearly half of community college students cannot access federal student loans for their education. As tuition at community colleges continue to rise and investment in need-based aid stagnates, students will require affordable loans as a way to pay for the post-secondary education that can put them in a better job and career pathway. The Budget and Tax Center has written about the importance of the federal loan program to student’s success and the state’s economic growth here and here. The evidence remains the same despite this latest effort to get around the Governor’s veto, community college students should have access to federal student loans if we want to ensure North Carolina’s workforce is competitive and the state’s middle class is growing.