Hoosier College Students Struggle With High Loan Default Rates

Aug 3, 2015

Only a handful of states see worse default rates than Indiana.
Credit Andrew Bossi / https://www.flickr.com/photos/thisisbossi/

Data released by the U.S. Department of Education shows Hoosier students have one of highest default rates on their loans of students anywhere in the country.

On average, 15-percent of Indiana students -- those at four-year, public, private and for-profit schools -- couldn’t pay back their loans after three years. Indiana is tied with Iowa for the third highest default rate in the country.

The average graduation rate here is 57-percent -- just above the national average.

Federal Education Secretary Arne Duncan says college accrediting agencies should focus more on the quality of student outcomes -- such as default rates -- and states need to make commitments to invest in higher education.

In the current system, only students, their families and taxpayers lose when students don’t succeed and that simply doesn’t make sense," Duncan says. "Institutions need to be held accountable when they get paid by students and taxpayers but fail to deliver a quality education. So should states and accreditors who are responsible to oversee them under the law."

Duncan also says college presidents freezing tuition are courageous. Purdue University has approved tuition freezes through 2016-17 and Ivy Tech Community College and Indiana University will keep tuition level for qualifying students this coming year.