Tags: student loan | debt | default | education

Federal Student-Loan Default Rate Declines to 13.7 Percent

Wednesday, 24 September 2014 11:20 AM

Defaults on federal student loans declined from a year earlier as the U.S. government bolstered programs to prevent borrowers from skipping payments.

The rate, measured over the first three years that borrowers are required to pay their loans, was 13.7 percent, down from 14.7 percent last year, the Education Department said today in a statement. The data encompasses borrowers who would have begun paying in 2011.

President Barack Obama and the Education Department have tried to stem defaults by publicizing several income-based repayment plans for those who are struggling. Under the programs, borrowers pay a certain percentage of their discretionary income. Enrollment in those programs, called “IBR,” may have helped, said Jennifer Wang, policy director for Young Invincibles, a Washington-based advocacy group that focuses on issues including student debt.

“There’s probably not one reason, but rather a few different factors that might be at play,” Wang said. “The recovering economy, getting more young people to sign up for IBR or Pay-as-You-Earn” likely contributed, she said.

The data covers student borrowers through Sept. 30, 2013, and shows the share that haven’t made required payments for at least 270 consecutive days. It includes both those who graduated from their programs and those who dropped out.

Rate Breakdown

Public colleges reported a 12.9 percent default rate, down from 13 percent last year while nonprofit private schools had a rate of 7.2 percent, down from last year’s 8.2 percent.

Among for-profit colleges, where rates have been highest, defaults dropped to 19.1 percent from 21.8 percent.

Default rates don’t count borrowers who have been granted a deferral or forbearance because of continued education or economic hardship or those who signed up for an income-based repayment program.

U.S. borrowers owe $1.2 trillion in education debt, according to the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The majority of it was originated by the government. The figure also includes debt from private lenders such as banks or SLM Corp., commonly called Sallie Mae.

The default rate for private student loans dropped below 3 percent in the second quarter for the first time since 2006, because borrowers receiving the loans had stronger credit, according to a report from Moody’s Investors Service earlier this month.

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Defaults on federal student loans declined from a year earlier as the U.S. government bolstered programs to prevent borrowers from skipping payments.
student loan, debt, default, education
Wednesday, 24 September 2014 11:20 AM
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