Nearly One in Ten Student-Loan Borrowers in Washington Are in Default

Still, Washington’s average default rate is on the low end compared with other states, a recent analysis shows
Updated: Tue, 10/22/2019 - 08:24
 
 
  • Still, Washington’s average default rate is on the low end compared with other states, a recent analysis shows

A total of nearly 6,000 of 66,561 student-loan borrowers in repayment in Washington state are in default on their student loans, representing a 9.01% default rate in the state, a new nationwide study shows.

That puts Washington in the bottom tier of states, however, with the 14th lowest default rate, just ahead of Wisconsin and trailing Delaware. California recorded the 12th lowest default rate, according to the study, at 8.8%, with 32,166 borrowers in default. The other West Coast state, Oregon, ranked in the top tier of states, notching the 14th highest default rate among the 50 states ― at 11.5% with about 7,900 borrowers in default,  

The study, conducted by LendEDU, is based on fiscal year 2016 data provided by the U.S. Department of Education.

“As colleges continue to raise tuition rates and with outstanding student loan debt in the United States at an all-time high of $1.6 trillion, student loan default only figures to be a growing issue,” the LendEDU study notes. “In fact, the Brookings Institute estimates that 40% of borrowers may default on their student loans by 2023. The wider implications this will have on the economy remains to be seen, but one can reasonably assume they will be damaging.” 

Washington’s default rate falls one percentage point below the overall national default rate of 10.1%. The average default rate posted for historically black colleges and universities was 15.66%, while women’s colleges recorded an average 5.35% default rate. For-profit schools recorded the highest average default rate, at 15.2%, with public schools at 9.6% and nonprofit private schools posting an average 6.6% student-loan default rate, the study shows.

Nevada posted the highest student-loan default rate among the states, at 18.16%, trailed by Mississippi, at 14.9%. Massachusetts and Vermont recorded the lowest default rates, according to the study, at 5.82% and 6.17%, respectively.

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