Houghton College is set to offer a program in which the college will pay back student loans until graduates meet certain income requirements.
College officials said the program is the first of its kind in the eastern United States.
If a student earns $20,000 or less upon graduation, the Loan Repayment Assistance Program will reimburse 100 percent of student loan payments until the loan is paid in full or the graduate earns a higher salary. The program will reimburse portions of loan payments for graduates who earn higher salaries, on a percentage-based scale up to $38,000.
College officials cast the program as a way to increase access to Houghton's programs. The small, evangelical Southern Tier institution has launched a series of strategic initiatives lately to maintain its attractiveness to students. Its full annual tuition is $27,578.
"Houghton College provides an education that changes a person's trajectory for their life," said Eric Currie, vice president for enrollment management. "With the loan repayment program, all new students have the opportunity to be a part of Houghton College's rich and long-standing history, which will prepare those students for a significant and impactful future."
All private, federal and parent PLUS loans are eligible for the program. Students must meet some basic requirements to qualify, including graduation from Houghton, working at a job that averages at least 30 hours a weekend and employment in the U.S.
The program will apply to incoming first-year students in the 2014-15 school year.