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White House Reveals Student Loan Default Rate

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At the end of 2014, the New York Fed reported a surprisingly high delinquency rate for student loans – 11.3%. Now the latest data released by the White House reveals that number may in fact be dramatically higher. As the Wall Street Journal reports:

New figures covering more than 3,700 schools were released as part of the White House’s College Scorecard, which allows consumers to explore data about debt and degrees. The average repayment rate among almost 1,200 for-profit schools—meaning these students were actively paying off loans—was 61%, the lowest of any sector. The average repayment rate among all colleges was 73%.”

15 09 14 student loan defaults


If 73% of college loans are being repaid, that means about 27% are not, which is far more than double the 11.3% the Fed reported last year.

And that’s just the average. 347 of the schools in the White House’s report (almost 10% of the institutions) reported that more than half of their students have defaulted or never made a payment on their loans after 7 years.

SchiffGoldWhitePaperStudentLoan590

Why are so many students simply not paying back their loans? One key reason is that they simply cannot afford the payments. Many college graduates today end up in jobs that would have been dominated by high school graduates a decade ago. Peter Schiff has talked a lot about this trend.

Another reason defaults are so rampant could be due to serious advice to students to simply stop paying, as Lee Siegel recommended in the New York Times this past summer. Siegel blames the problems on greedy colleges, rather than wondering at the government guarantees to lenders that make it easy for unqualified students to get these loans in the first place. Siegel suggests that while your credit may be terribly damaged, a graduate can ultimate survive a default.

Our economic system ensures that so long as you are willing to sink deeper and deeper into debt, you will keep being enthusiastically invited to play the economic game.”

While Siegel is right about the tragic state of our economic system, his advice is ultimately irresponsible, which Jordan Weissmann pointed out in Slate:

Astoundingly, Siegel never mentions, nor demonstrates that he understands, the fact that in most cases of default the government can simply start garnishing up to 15 percent of borrowers’ disposable wages directly from their paychecks.”

Giving up 15% of your disposable wages can hurt a lot, especially when you’re struggling in an entry-level job shared with a high schooler. That’s probably why a big chunk of millennials would rather sell an organ.

According to a new survey, 30% of millennials with a median age of 32 and average student debts of $34,500 would sell an organ to be pay off their debt.

In the bigger picture, the student debt crisis is going to affect you whether or not you have any outstanding student loans. The trillions of dollars of student loans are guaranteed by the federal government, which could very well bailout lenders like it did for the big banks during the 2008 financial crisis. That means the US taxpayer is ultimately on the hook for student loan defaults. Learn how to protect yourself today.

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4 thoughts on “White House Reveals Student Loan Default Rate

  1. cc says:

    “in most cases of default the government can simply start garnishing up to 15 percent of borrowers’ disposable wages directly from their paychecks.”

    I seriously doubt any politician has the courage to do this in large scale – imagine the ensuing outcry of “war on…” whatever.

    Unfortunately, that means that taxpayers and those responsible kids who pay their student loans will be the losers.

    Sad world, isn’t it?

    • JUDS says:

      Not really, After all if you start a business and default, should those wages be garnished?

      Bankruptcy as established by the founding fathers was applicable to all debt, it was only in the 70’s or so that it became impossible to discharge via bankruptcy. Should we garnish wages for all the homeowners in 2007-2009?

  2. Chip Douglas says:

    No, just the ones who quit paying and then went out and bought another house within 2 years on credit. When you scam the system you scam the taxpayers. Make them pay the stupid tax!

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