Introduction

Nowadays, the majority of students aren't just leaving their graduation ceremonies with diplomas - they are also leaving with a bundle of student loan debt. In fact, the average graduate has just under $17,000 in student loan debt. In addition, around 70% of graduates have at least some form of student loan debt.

Student debt is having a lasting financial and emotional impact of our nation's young adults. Borrowers are delaying marriage, buying homes, and starting businesses because of student debt.

Unfortunately, around 11.3% of student loan borrowers default on their debt. In most cases, loans are considered in default when borrowers have not made a payment for 270 days if they pay monthly or 330 days if they pay less than once a month. 

Once borrowers enter default, they lose eligibility for many federal programs such as deferment and income-driven repayment plans, their credit scores take a hit, and their wages may be garnished - among many other unfavorable things. Also, the resulting lower credit score surely will limit the borrower's ability to qualify for student loan refinancing.

It goes without saying that borrowers should avoid default if possible. 

A key factor in student loan default is what school borrowers attended. Those who attend excellent schools are more likely to get well-paying jobs, and are therefore less likely to default on their debt. Those who attend less reputable schools, on the other hand, are usually worse off on average. Since students can get loans for almost any school, looking at default rates is a great indicator of the potential for future financial success or failure.

Using data from the Department of Education, we ranked 4,544 schools throughout the United States in terms of federal student loan default rates. All schools eligible for federal student loans were included in this study - including public and private colleges and universities as well as non-degree schools. In addition, the average default rates by school type and by state were included. Private student loan default rates were not included in this study. See the Methodology section below for more information about how we put this report together. 

The purpose of this study is to provide the default rates for schools throughout the nation so students and their families can make more educated decisions about which school to attend. Schools with lower default rates give their students a better chance at successfully repaying their debt and being financially prosperous after graduation. 

Average Default Rates by School Type

​Below you will find a table with the average default rate by school type. For more on these results, check the Findings & Analysis section.



Average Default Rates by State

​Below you will find a table with the average default rate by school type.



Student Loan Default Rates by School

​Below you will find a table with the list of schools ordered by default rate. You can use the searches above the table to find a specific school, type of school, state, or city.

To see the rankings of schools in a specific state, type the postal code of the state in the "State" search.