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Stony Brook Student Loan Default Rate Drops to All-Time Low

Students in SB Union

Students in SB Union

Stony Brook University’s cohort default rate this year dropped to an all-time low of 2 percent, according to statistics released by the U.S. Department of Education.

The drop is in keeping with national trends, and at least partly because of the federal pause in student-loan repayments due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Stony Brook University is deeply committed to offering an excellent education — across all of our graduate and undergraduate programs — at an affordable cost,” said Paul M. Goldbart, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “We have been recognized nationally as a university that promotes and enables upward economic mobility, and these low rates demonstrate that the vast majority of our graduates are successful in meeting their financial obligations after graduation.”

Cohort default rates are calculated based on the percentage of a school’s borrowers who start repayments on certain types of federal loans in a given year and who, by the end of the third year, have entered into default.

Generally, default rates drop for a combination of reasons, including lower rates of borrowing, increased financial literacy, and improvements in graduation rates and career preparation.

“The Office of Financial Aid in recent years has expanded its efforts to ensure that all of our students, from the moment they step foot on campus, understand the implications of borrowing and the different parts of their financial aid packages,” said Nick Prewett, director of financial aid. “We offer extensive programs and information about budgeting and managing debt, saving and investing, in addition to helping students and families understand their financial aid packages and calculating the real cost of a Stony Brook education.”

Stony Brook’s cohort default rates have been dropping steadily since 2009, and consistently have been well below national averages. Across the nation, 7.3 percent of federal borrowers who started repaying their loans in 2018 — the latest year for which data are available — are in default. 

Since 2014, Stony Brook’s cohort default rate has hovered around 3 percent.

“Educating our students encompasses expanding their academic knowledge, as well as preparing them to succeed in their careers and in their lives. It’s a mission that encompasses every area of the University,” said Dawn S. Medley, associate vice president of enrollment management. “I’m proud of Stony Brook’s coordinated efforts to support all of our students while they are here and to prepare them effectively for the next chapters of their lives.”


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