Troy Miller, Associate Director for Research and Policy for the Florida College Access Network, presented before the Florida House of Representatives’ Education Appropriations Subcommittee yesterday on student loan default rates in Florida. The presentation highlighted the impact student loan defaults have on students as well as state level trends on the topic.

Student debt and loan default have been a policy topic for states around the country due to the fact that so many college students rely on student loans to help finance their educations. According to a 2014 White House report, 2.3 million students in Florida owed $61.7 billion in federal student loan debt. While the majority of students who borrow are able to repay their loans, a growing number of students are in default.

According to data presented by Miller, Florida’s current loan default rate is 14%, which is 13th highest in the nation. While this number has gone down slightly over recent years, the number of borrowers and defaulters are up in Florida. “Over those [three past reporting periods] we had a 90,000 increase in borrowers, which is the second highest in the nation behind California, and an increase of 9,500 defaulters, which is the most in the nation,” Miller told members of the committee.

During the presentation, Miller also highlighted causes for why students default on their loans, which research shows is strongly connected to degree completion. “The number one factor that influences whether a student will default on their loan is if they complete their degree,” Miller stated.

To further investigate student loan default rates, Florida College Access Network is currently working on a policy brief on the topic to be released in early 2016.

A recording of the presentation, as well as the slides used are available here and here for download.

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