Washington, D.C., September 24, 2014—Following the U.S. Department of Education's release of the official three-year federal student loan cohort default rate (CDR), APSCU Vice President of Public Affairs Noah Black released the following statement:
"It is a positive sign for students and the economy that cohort default rates continue to decline across the board. We are hopeful that as the economy improves and more borrower friendly policies are put in place, defaults can become a thing of the past.
"A comparison of institutions serving similar students—private sector institutions and community colleges—shows our institutions have equal or lower default rates and higher graduation rates than our peers. This is a result of our sector's focus on graduate employment, financial literacy and credentials in high demand fields.
"It is notable and disappointing that the Department continues to be opaque on how three-year CDRs are calculated.
"Now on the cusp of students and institutions losing access to Title IV funds, the Department appears to be admitting to certain flaws in how information is collected and CDRs calculated. As a result, they are making an adjustment for institutions that would have been subject to potential loss of eligibility this year. APSCU, and its members, raised this concern with the Administration repeatedly prior to the change in policy.
"Since the Department now thinks this is such an extraordinary situation, the logical question is, why are they not making the adjustment for all institutions? Doing so would certainly result in a more accurate measure of three-year CDRs—a metric that is used to determine eligibility for state grants, special disbursement rules and serves as the underpinning for the programmatic CDR in the proposed gainful employment regulation."