The Student Loan Default Crisis for Borrowers with Children

The Student Loan Default Crisis for Borrowers with Children

By Jael Greene

A recent piece by the Center for American Progress examines the default crisis that exists for student loan borrowers with children. Approximately 4.8 million undergraduate students have children and over half of them, 2.7 million, borrowed to cover the costs of their college education. While there are many challenges that student-parents face throughout their postsecondary education, new data demonstrates that repaying their federal loans is a significant one.

Key findings include:

  • Nearly half of student-parents (46%) who began college in the 2003-04 school year and borrowed a federal student loan defaulted within 12 years of first enrolling.
    • This is nearly double the rate of borrowers without children (25%) and 1.5 times the rate of all undergraduate borrowers (29%).
    • Single-parent borrowers had a higher default rate (50%) than student-parents with partners (40%).
  • 60% of student-parents who defaulted started their college education at for-profit institutions.
    • 44% of for-profit defaulters were student-parents, the highest percentage of any postsecondary sector.
  • Student-parents with younger children were more likely to default than those with teens.
    • 53% of student-parents with children age 3 or younger defaulted and 41% of student-parents with children ages 4 to 12, compared to 31% of student-parents with teenagers.
  • African American and Latinos make up 60% of all single student-parents and 52% of all student-parents who defaulted did so within 12 years of enrolling.
    • Nearly 90% of African American student-parents and 64% of Latino student-parents who had defaulted were single, compared to 54% of white student-parents who defaulted.