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UW student loan default rate below national average

UW student loan default rate below national average

Apr 4, 2013 - By Bob Moen, The Associated Press

CHEYENNE -- The percentage of University of Wyoming students defaulting on federal loans is well below the national average, while five of the state's seven community colleges have rates that are above average.

According to U.S. Education Department figures, 4.9 percent of UW students defaulted on their student loans within three years of entering repayment. Nationally, 13.4 percent of student borrowers fell behind their repayments.

"Most of the large four-year public universities are going to be in the range of the University of Wyoming, and they're going to be below the 5 point mark for sure," Joanna Carter, UW Student Financial Aid director, said Wednesday. "Nationally, it's hard economic times. You got students who haven't been able to pay back their loans."

Carter said UW's low default rate can be attributed to various factors.

"Of those that borrow, they borrow low, and then we have many fewer borrowers," she said.

Only 42 percent of UW undergraduate students take out federal loans, compared with about two-thirds at most colleges, Carter said. That's because Wyoming provides good scholarship opportunities and many UW students save money for college or work while going to school, she said.

Families typically borrow $14,426 in federal loans for a student's undergraduate study at UW, according to the U.S. Education Department figures.

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