Student loan defaults typically increase as unemployment rises and the economy struggles. But Western University of Health Sciences’ Student Loan Default Rate declined from 0.4 percent to 0.1 percent in the latest report from the U.S. Department of Education. This default rate is a two-year default rate for the year ending June 30, 2009.
“We’re in a unique position where students, upon completion of their degree programs, are very highly employable and they’re in an industry that is a growth industry,” said WesternU Director of Financial Aid Otto Reyer, MA. “With that combination, we’re going to have a low default rate.”
The default rate for all four-year public institutions was 7.2 percent, and for private four-year institutions was 4.6 percent, according to the same report. Both public and private institutions have a majority of students who are undergraduates.
Defaults come about from two main sources: lack of employability and dropouts.
“If a student is not employable after going to school, then how are they going to pay back their loans? So they end up defaulting,” Reyer said. “If students don’t graduate, it’s difficult to get employed. So you have people who default.”
WesternU’s Financial Aid office helps students understand debt management. All entering students spend time with a financial aid counselor to learn about budgeting. Each WesternU program differs, but 2011 WesternU graduates have an average indebtedness ranging from about $30,000 to more than $200,000.
“Our low loan default rate is a testament to our graduates’ ability to find high-quality jobs despite a sluggish economy,” said WesternU President Philip Pumerantz, PhD. “Our students are highly sought after for their skilled hands and humanistic approach to healing. The time and money our students invest in WesternU now will yield a lifetime of benefits to them and to the society they will serve.”