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LECOM Student Loan Default Rate Among Lowest In U.S.

ERIE, PA – The Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) has one of the lowest student loan default rates among more than 4,500 U.S. colleges, based on a new study released by consumer website LendEDU. LECOM also has one of the lowest rates among over 300 Pennsylvania schools.

According to Department of Education data for the 2016 fiscal year, LECOM possessed a 0.40 percent student loan default rate, tying for 128th place and falling into the 90th percentile among the 4,425 institutions included in the LendEDU analysis. By comparison, the national overall default rate was 10.10 percent in 2016, the most recent year for which data is available. LECOM also ranked well compared to other private nonprofit colleges, which had an overall rate of 6.60 percent.

Among 326 Pennsylvania colleges included in the report, LECOM ranked eighth, well below the Commonwealth average default rate of 9.28 percent.

Federal student loan payments are considered to be in default once a payment is 270 days – or about nine months – past due; private student loans vary by lender, but are typically considered to be in default when a payment is late by three or four months. The penalties for defaulting on a loan can be severe and long lasting. Wages, tax refunds and Social Security benefits may be garnished. Credit scores can be damaged, and those in default may ultimately face lawsuits or debt collectors.

The Federal Reserve System estimates U.S. student debt to be $1.61 trillion, an all-time high blamed on increasing tuition costs. The Brookings Institute predicts that as many as 40 percent of borrowers may default on their loans by 2023.

“Rising student loan debt is a national issue,” said Bonnie Crilley, LECOM institutional director of financial aid. “LECOM’s low tuition provides students the opportunity to attend professional programs while still keeping their student loan debt manageable. Many students don’t think about the gravity of their student loan debt until they go into loan repayment. With manageable student loan debt, our graduates are able to afford their loan payments without feeling completely overwhelmed by the financial burden of their debt, ultimately avoiding the damaging effects of student loan default.”