Calvin top five in state for student loan repayment

Calvin’s student loan default rates are among the lowest in the state, according to a new report by LendEDU.

The report, which compiled default rates for 4,398 schools across the country, ranked Calvin 339th in the nation and 5th in the state of Michigan.

When a borrower enters repayment on their student loan (typically after graduation), failure to make payments according to the terms of the loan agreement can result in default. For most federal student loans, the default period is 270 days without payment, states.

To determine default rates for the study, LendEDU evaluated the Department of Education’s data on borrowers who entered payment in 2017 and defaulted in 2017, 2018, or 2019. These numbers were compared to the default rates of 2016 borrowers as reported this year.

Calvin’s default rate was 1.6%, a 0.8 percentage point decrease from the previous year group. Michigan’s average default rate was nearly 6.5 times higher at 10.46%, with an average decrease of 1.61 percentage points. Overall, the state had 142,313 borrowers begin repaying loans in 2017, 14,893 of whom were in default.

Last year, despite increases in tuition prices, the average debt of Calvin students decreased by approximately $3,000 per indebted student. The percentage of students graduating with debt also decreased from 60% to 55% between 2018 and 2019 graduates. University officials attributed decreases to increased funding for donor scholarships.

Michigan’s default rates were slightly higher than the national average, which decreased 0.4 percentage points to 9.7% for 2017 borrowers eligible for repayment.

Ahead of Calvin in the state were Cranbrook Academy of Art, with a perfect default rate of 0%, and Michigan State University College of Law, Kalamazoo College, and University of Michigan – Ann Arbor in a three-way tie for second place at 1.2% default rates.

Calvin Theological Seminary fared significantly worse than Calvin University, reporting 3.9% default rates, and 0.7% increase from the year prior.

Schools comparable to Calvin all reported higher default rates. Hope College was listed at 2.1%, Grand Valley State University at 3.7%, Alma College at 5.4%, and Aquinas and Adrian Colleges at 5.5% and 7.9% respectively.

Key findings of LendEDU’s study showed that private institutions had the lowest collective student loan default rate (6.7%) when compared to public institutions (9.3%) and for-profit schools (14.7%). Additionally, Massachusetts had the lowest default rates, averaging 5.83%, and Mississippi had the highest at 15.19%.

States in the Northeast and Midwest tended to have lower student loan default rates in general.