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Perkins Loan repayment rate among highest in nation

June 6, 2013

UW-Madison students during the past two years have been among the top colleges in the nation in repaying many of their student loans, particularly federal loans given through the university, federal data shows.

Photo: Susan Fischer

Susan Fischer

According to U.S. Department of Education Federal Student Aid data, UW–Madison students had a 1.16 percent default rate on federal Perkins Loans in 2012. The rate was less than the national average of about 11 percent, and a drop from the 1.82 percent reported in 2011.

Perkins loans are federally funded and offered to students by universities based on need.

The high rate of repaying Perkins Loans may be due to a combination of other factors, such as good borrowers who repay their loans, and the university’s strong processing methods, says UW–Madison Director of Student Financial Aid Susan Fischer.

“The fact that less than 2 percent of students default is fantastic,” Fischer says. “But how do they do it? It’s a mystery. It may be due to our students receiving a good education that gets them good jobs that help them pay it back.”

Part of the success of the program may also be due to the loans coming through the university, encouraging students to pay them back out of loyalty.

Fischer also said that UW–Madison’s financial aid office has an in-house student loan servicing unit, in which staff work with students who are on the edge of being in default, or are in default on loans, to find ways to help them get back on track.

UW-Madison has one of the highest numbers of students receiving Perkins loans in the country, with 2,072 borrowers who entered repayment status between June 2010 and June 2011.

—Sean Kirkby