An article on the Quartz news site about the resignation of Seth Frotman as student loan ombudsman from the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) cites research by TC's Judith Scott-Clayton for the Brookings Institution. In a report published last January, Scott-Clayton wrote that "the looming student loan default rise is worse than we thought."
In her analysis of data on student debt and repayment from the U.S. Department of Education, Scott-Clayton found that:
- Default trends suggest that "nearly 40 percent of borrowers may default on their student loans by 2023."
- Debt and default among black college students is at crisis levels. Black BA graduates default at five times the rate of white BA graduates (21 versus 4 percent), and are more likely to default than white dropouts. Borrowers for for-profit colleges default at twice the rate of borrowers for two-year institutions. But because for-profit students are more likely to borrow, the default rate among all for-profit entrants is nearly four times that of public two-year entrants.
- Default rates depend more on student and institutional factors than on average levels of debt. For example, only 4 percent of white graduates who never attended a for-profit defaulted within 12 years of entry, compared to 67 percent of black dropouts who ever attended a for-profit. Defaults are highest among those who borrow relatively small amounts.
- Trends over time are most alarming among for-profit colleges; out of 100 students who ever attended a for-profit, 23 defaulted within 12 years of starting college in the 1996 cohort compared to 43 in the 2004 cohort, (compared to an increase from just 8 to 11 students among entrants who never attended a for-profit institution).