The Institute for College Access and Success released a new report Wednesday that finds nearly one in 10 community college students, or 9 percent, don't have access to federal student loans because their institutions don't offer them.
Most community college students don't take out loans, but more than a third, or 37 percent, of those who complete an associate's degree have borrowed.
"Despite relatively low tuition and fees, community college students still face average total costs of $15,000," said Debbie Cochrane, research director at TICAS and co-author of the report. "Federal loans are the lowest-cost option for students who need to borrow to stay in school, but too many schools take that option off the table."
Those colleges that don't provide federal loans cite concerns about loan defaults, which can prevent the institutions from offering other types of federal financial aid if the college's default rate is too high.
TICAS found at least 12 community colleges that don't offer federal loans but refer students to private lenders instead.