Student loan defaults uncommonly low for UCCS

Feb. 16, 2015

Kyle Guthrie
kguthri2@uccs.edu

Defaulting on a student loan is one of the first credit landmines college graduates encounter in the world. Defaulting could result in a considerable credit score ding for the unprepared.

But for UCCS students, it is a landmine that seems much easier to avoid.

Recent federal studies have shown that UCCS graduates have a significantly lower chance of defaulting on their loans, by a rate that is 20 percent less than the national average.

Jevita Rogers, director of the Office of Financial Aid and Student Employment, believes there are several reasons for the lower default rates, including details related to the school and the immediate area.

“As far as affordable loan debt, UCCS students graduate with a lower loan debt than the rest of the state,” she said.

In 2013, Colorado graduates averaged $25,706 in loan debt. The UCCS graduating class averaged $16,780.

Rogers highlighted lower tuition as a cause for the difference.

According to the Federal National Default Rate, a calculation that is researched and put out by the United States Department of Education, the national three-year default rate was at 13.7 percent for the 2011 fiscal year.

The default rate for a standard three-year UCCS graduate stands at 2.7 percent.

Many factors contribute to student loan defaults, including poor economy, an inability to find work, high interest rates associated with the loans and inability for students to find sufficient loan assistance programs for college.

But Rogers believes that there are several factors dealing with the campus that also contributed to the lower default rates.

“Of the programs that track their graduating student’s employment, a high percentage of recent graduates are employed before or soon after they graduate from UCCS,” said Rogers.

“[We look] to get students more familiar with their loan debt while in school and try to discourage excess borrowing for costs beyond what they need.”

Rogers also pointed out other potential reasons for the lower rates.

UCCS has institutional monies that are allocated to the financial aid office, which allows for more grants for students. Unemployment in the state is also lower than others, meaning that more students are able to get jobs after graduation.

Mountain Lion Money Matters, monthly workshops hosted by the Financial Aid Office, delve into various fiscal hurdles. A complete schedule is available at www.uccs.edu/~moneymatters/.

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