Two-Year Student Loan Default Rates by Degree Completion Status over Time

Among borrowers who entered repayment in 2011-12, 9% of those who completed their programs and 24%
of those who did not graduate defaulted on their student loans within two years of entering repayment.

Figure 2015_14A: Two-Year Student Loan Default Rates by Repayment Cohort and Degree Completion Status, 1995-96 to 2011-12

Figure 14A represents Two-Year Student Loan Default Rates by Degree Completion Status, 1995-96 to 2011-12. For a corresponding Section 508-compliant data table, see

Notes & Sources 

NOTES: Default rates are based on defaults occurring within two calendar years of the date of entering repayment and do not correspond exactly to official two-year cohort default rates, which are based on defaults before the end of the fiscal year following the year in which the borrower enters repayment. Based on sector in which students were enrolled at the time the first federal student loan was issued. Does not include Perkins Loan or Parent PLUS Loan balances. Individual graduation outcomes are as reported by institutions.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Treasury calculations based on sample data from the National Student Loan Data System.

  • The default rates of borrowers in the 2011-12 repayment cohort who first borrowed at public and private nonprofit four-year institutions and completed degrees were 6% and 5%, respectively. For those who left school with no credential, the default rates were 18% and 15%, respectively.
  • The default rates of borrowers who first borrowed at for-profit and public two-year institutions and completed their programs were 14% and 17%, respectively. For those who did not graduate, the default rates were 28% and 29%, respectively.
  • The largest gap between the default rates of graduates and nongraduates was 22 percentage points in the 2009-10 repayment cohort, among whom 8% of graduates and 30% of nongraduates defaulted within two years. The smallest gap was 6 percentage points in 1998-99, when 5% of graduates and 11% of nongraduates defaulted.