In January, The Brookings Institute released a study that is described as the “most comprehensive assessment yet of student debt.” Conducted by Judith Scott-Clayton, the analysis reveals some pretty grim realities, as well as serious implications for the future of college loan default. Studies focused previously on the short-term, which was usually no more than five years after college enrollment.
This time, however, Brookings decided to follow students for 20 years. The best prior estimates indicated that 28–29 percent of all borrowers of college loans would default.
Findings from the study indicate that college loan default rates continue to rise between 12 and 20 years after enrollment. Rates for the 1995-1996 cohort were around 18 percent at the 12-year mark. Between years 13 and 20, the default rate rose to 26 percent, which was an increase of around 44 percent.