More than 6.2 million of the nation's 14.8 million undergraduates go to community colleges, many of which are in rural America. (The Genesee Community College in Western New York, above.) A third of the graduates from these institutions took out loans — loans that are today harder to get. The New York Times reported this week that some of the nation's largest banks have stopped making loans to students attending community colleges.

The financial markets are rocky now. What's new, the Times reports, is that lenders are treating community colleges differently from four year institutions. Community college administrators contend that since the loan is to the student, the type of college, two or four-year, shouldn't matter to the bank.

In an editorial Tuesday, the Times urges community colleges to join a direct loan program operated by the federal government. This will help community college students to avoid the turmoil now experienced by those seeking college loans from commercial banks.

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