This week The Student Loan Report published a report that analyzed the default rate among graduates from thousands of universities. Using federal data from the Department of Education, the report looks at the three-year default rate for students who entered repayment beginning in 2014. The national average for default among these borrowers is 11.5%, an increase of 1.77 percentage points over last year. Public college students only did a tad better than the overall average, defaulting at a rate of 11.3%.
Michigan Technological University’s three-year default rate, however, is much better, holding steady at 2.0%. Overall, Michigan Tech ranked #119 out of 1,900 schools reviewed by this report (in the top 6%). Among public institutions, Michigan Tech ranked #27 in the nation (top 2%).
But many of those public institutions are actually medical schools consisting mostly of graduate students (and just handfuls of undergraduate students). Removing the public medical schools, Michigan Tech ranks 18th in the country for the lowest default rate.
Finally, the default rate isn’t only a factor of how easily a student can pay back their loans with their early-career earnings, it is also a factor of their socio-economic class background. Students coming from higher earning families borrow less and have back-up means by which to pay off their loans if they do borrow. So we pulled a bit of additional data from the White House Scorecard. Of those top 18 non-medical school public institutions, only three (UC-Irvine, George Mason, and Suny Geneseo) had a higher percentage of students qualifying for the federal Pell Grant.
Looking at it this way, it’s fair to say that Michigan Tech is one of the top four public institutions in the nation where students from modest to moderate financial means can get an education that ensures them the ability to pay back their loans after graduation.
No school on this list has a higher percentage of their student body taking out federal loans than Michigan Tech. In other words, on this list no other public institution in the nation has a larger percentage of students taking out loans with the lowest default rate three years after entering repayment. Secretary DeVos should sleep well knowing that Michigan Tech students are a good investment for our nation from that point alone.