- 60 percent of the defaulters in the study earned fewer than 15 credits. Students who borrowed and who earned fewer than 15 credits had a default rate of 47.8%
- Students with the lowest balances had the highest default rates.
- Students who transferred from community colleges to four-year colleges had default rates comparable to students who graduated from community colleges. In other words, if loan defaults are the issue, community college graduation rates are the wrong measure.
- Students whose payments were done the traditional way had a default rate of 34.5%. Students who used Income-Based Repayment (IBR) had a default rate of 3.2%
In a better world, a report like this would serve as a spur to the “free community college” movement, or at least to improved state support for community colleges. But if it motivates campuses to look more closely at IBR, and helps to deflate the pernicious “skin in the game” movement, I’ll take it. And for heaven’s sake, let’s count “paying off the loan” as escaping default.