Mapping Your Future: National student loan default rate continues to decline

COVID-19 information and resources


National student loan default rate continues to decline

By Catherine Mueller

October 01, 2020

The national student loan default rate dropped to 9.7 percent, according to figures released by the Department of Education this week.

In a September 30 Electronic Announcement, the Department provided details on the FY 2017 Official National Cohort Default Rates in a two-page briefing.

The briefing provided information on the FY 2017 student loan default rate for each sector of higher education institutions, which are as follows:

  • Public – 9.3%
  • Private – 6.7%
  • Proprietary – 14.7%
  • Foreign – 2.9%

Higher education institutions were notified of their individual institution’s rates on Monday, Sept. 28. Those institutions that believe there are errors in the rates can begin appealing the rates on Tuesday, Oct. 6.

For additional information regarding the school cohort default rate calculation or the challenge processes, refer to the Cohort Default Rate Guide. Schools with questions may also send an email to or call 202-377-4259.