Bell Gardens : City Council Funds College Loan Program for Residents

The City Council has set aside $2.5 million to create an interest-free oan program for Bell Gardens college or trade school students.

The money will come out of reserves from the city's $17.3-million general fund and will be invested. City officials said they hope to earn 10% interest, which would be used to fund the student loans, City Manager Charles Gomez said.

The average loan will be $4,500 a year, Gomez said, which is enough to pay for a year's tuition at a University of California campus and for some book expenses. The maximum loan amount is $10,000.

Students will be expected to pay back the loans within 10 years of graduating but will get a four-year grace period before the payments must begin.

Gomez said the city also will encourage students interested in attending trade schools and community colleges to apply for the loans.

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