Predicting Student Loan Default for the University of Texas at Austin

    Vol. 35, No. 2, 2005 p. 27 

    by Elizabeth Herr and Larry Burt

    During spring 2001, Noel-Levitz created a student loan default model for the University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin). The goal of this project was to identify students most likely to default, to identify as risk elements those characteristics that contributed to student loan default, and to use these risk elements to plan and implement targeted, pro-active interventions to prevent student loan default. UT Austin supplied academic data for the project, and the student loan guarantor Texas Guaranteed Student Loan Corporation (TG) provided the data about borrowers from UT Austin who entered repayment between 1996 and 1999. Results showed that student program completion, persistence, and success were strong predictors of student loan default, as were race/ ethnicity, gender, and the school of enrollment at UT Austin. These results emphasize the role of student success and graduation in eventual loan repayment. Interventions that focus on student persistence and academic success were seen as the primary actions needed to help prevent student loan default.