SALT LAKE CITY — While the national student loan default rates ticked up again this year, Western Governors University’s official default rate for the FY 2014 cohort dropped again, to 4.6 percent. The U.S. Department of Education released official cohort default rates for all Title IV-eligible institutions this week, and online, nonprofit WGU bucked the trend again, reducing its rate from 4.8 percent last year to 4.6 percent.
"At WGU, we focus on encouraging our students to borrow responsibly by providing them with the information they need to make smart, informed decisions about their student loans,” said WGU’s Vice President of Financial Aid, Bob Collins. “WGU’s affordable, flat-rate tuition of about $6,000 per year makes it possible for students to borrow less, and our degree programs produce graduates who find career success and increase their incomes.”
In 2013, WGU implemented its Responsible Borrowing Initiatives, a student education program aimed at ensuring that students borrow only what they need. Since then, the average borrowing per student per year has decreased by 41 percent—the average debt at graduation (for undergraduates who borrow) is about $16,000, less than half the national average. In addition, in a 2016 survey of graduates by Harris Poll Online, WGU graduates reported an average increase in salary of $19,100 within 4 years of graduation, compared to an average of $6,700 nationally.