West Michigan Students, Financial Aid Officers Share Concerns Over Rising Loan Default Rates
"Across the state, the number of students failing to repay their loans is on the rise, according to data released by the U.S. Department of Education on Monday, Sept. 30," MLive reports. "Fourteen percent of students in Michigan who entered repayment during fiscal year 2010 had defaulted within three years, federal data show. That’s up from 12.7 percent in 2009. Default rates vary based on institution, but all of Michigan’s 15 public universities saw their rate increase. The same is true for West Michigan’s private colleges. Hope College, Calvin College, Aquinas College and Cornerstone University all saw default rates climb. Financial aid experts said while the economy plays a role in borrowers’ ability to pay back loans, an even bigger factor is their lack of knowledge of repayment programs. 'The fact that a half-million defaulters could have used deferments, forbearances, or income-contingent repayment plans to avoid the awful consequences of default—but didn’t—underscores the need to keep student loan indebtedness in check and provide struggling borrowers with easy-to-reach resources,' said Justin Draeger, president of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators."
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