The default rate on federal loans to University of Notre Dame students is three-tenths of a percent, the lowest among the nations major universities, according to data recently released by the U.S. Department of Education.
Calculated annually, the rate is based on the number of former students in default who were scheduled to begin payment, divided by the number of borrowers in the federal Stafford Student Loan Program. It includes both undergraduates and graduate and professional school students.
The national default rate is 4.9 percent, about 6 percent less than 10 years ago.
The default rate among Notre Dame students has been traditionally low, according to Joseph Russo, director of student financial strategies at the University. He cited several factors:
- Notre Dames retention rate of 98 percent between the first and second years, and a four-year, on-time graduation rate of 95 percent
- Excellent personal attention through the Universitys innovative First Year of Studies and academic advisement, as well as the work of residence hall staff
- Student satisfaction as indicated through alumni surveys
- Success of graduates in gaining employment and/or acceptance to graduate and professional school
- A high level of responsibility in meeting obligations among Notre Dame students
Russo said the overall drop in student loan default rates is the result of borrowers increasingly taking repayment more seriously, and schools and partners in the student loan community continuing to make debt management a priority. In addition, lenders have intensified default prevention efforts in recent years.