About 250 Howard University medical students demonstrated yesterday to protest a recent university decision to deny federal loans to students who are in academic trouble.
The new policy affects 33 Howard medical students who have either failed three or more courses or twice failed a national standardized test given during the sophomore year.
Last month, these students were allowed to register for classes pending approval of their applications for federal loans, but were recently informed that they were ineligible for the loans, university officials said.
Most of the 450 Howard medical students "are in solidarity behind our colleagues who have been denied the opportunity to register for classes because the university has denied them federal loans," said Kevin Scott, president of the medical school's student council.
The students won their point. Goldie Clairborne, director of financial aid, told the crowd of students gathered in a student lounge that officials had decided to award each of the 33 students in academic trouble at least the $6,000 in university loans and scholarships they needed for their tuition and other expenses.
Clairborne said that, according to a federal policy that started in 1983, the university could not make federal loans to any student "not making satisfactory progress towards a degree and not in good academic standing. But it is up to the university to determine what students would fit those classifications."