Student Loans:

Direct Loan Default Rates

GAO-01-68: Published: Oct 17, 2000. Publicly Released: Nov 16, 2000.

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This report focuses on the default rate for student loans. Two major federal student loan programs, the Federal Direct Loan Program (FDLP) and the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP), together provided student borrowers with about 9 million loans totaling about $42.9 billion in fiscal year 1999. The most recent student loan default rate statistics for schools showed that, overall, the direct and guaranteed student loan programs had similar default rates: at 6.6 percent for FDLP and 6.7 percent for FFELP. The two programs had similar default rates when the comparisons focused on the type of school. FDLP has two types of loans, consolidated and nonconsolidated. Generally, borrowers with consolidated loans who used the standard payment plan had a lower default rate than did borrowers with nonconsolidated loans. However, when income contingent repayment plans were used, borrowers with consolidated loans had a higher default rate than did those with nonconsolidated loans. The Department of Education uses various procedures to ensure that loans are properly serviced and collected, including independent monitoring and external assessments of monitoring results.

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