While the student loan default rate is decreasing nationwide, here in the Mountain State students are struggling. According to the United States Department of Education West Virginia has the second highest default rate in the country.
Default occurs when a student doesn’t make a payment toward their loan after 360 days of graduating. A student loan default hurts both the student and the college they attended.
At New River Technical and Community College in Ghent they work to help students understand loans.
“During our financial literary council, we make sure that student know how much they’ve borrow, what their debt is and what their repayment options are,” says the Director of Financial Aid at New River, Patricia Harmon.
The college was able to reach at-risk borrowers and reduce the default rate for the 2012 cohort. Just last year 66 percent of the college’s students received some form of financial aid totaling over $9 million and there was only $2.1 million in loans.