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September 27, 2018

WGU’s 3-Year Student Loan Default Rate Drops to 4.1%, Less than Half the National Rate of 10.8%

Online, nonprofit university’s 3-yr cohort default rate drops for seventh consecutive year

SALT LAKE CITY — Western Governors University’s (WGU) official student loan default rate dropped again for the FY 2015 cohort, from 4.6 to 4.1 percent, which is less than half the national average and decreasing at a faster rate than the national average. The U.S. Department of Education released official cohort default rates (CDR) for all Title IV-eligible institutions on Tuesday. The downward trend at WGU is the result of access to affordable, high-quality degree programs combined with student financial literacy initiatives.   

"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. “Not only are WGU students graduating with less debt, they are succeeding in the workplace, advancing their careers, and earning more money, which helps ensure that they are able to repay their loans.”

While founded on the premise of affordable and accessible education, which intrinsically enables students to borrow less, WGU is committed to helping students with fiscal responsibility. In 2013, WGU implemented its Responsible Borrowing Initiatives (RBI) program, a personalized student advising program aimed at encouraging students to borrow wisely. Since then, the average borrowing per student per year (for undergraduates who choose to take out loans) has decreased by 40 percent—the average debt at graduation is about $15,000, which is less than half the national average. In addition, in a 2017 survey of graduates by Harris Poll Online, WGU graduates reported an average increase in salary of $21,200 within 4 years of graduation, compared to an average of $12,000 among other universities in the U.S.

About WGU
Established in 1997 by 19 U.S. governors with a mission to expand access to high-quality, affordable higher education, online, nonprofit WGU now serves 102,000 students and 120,000 graduates in all 50 states. Driving innovation as the nation's leading competency-based university, WGU has been recognized by the White House, state leaders, employers, and students as a model that works in postsecondary education. In just 20 years, the university has become a leading force in changing lives through education. WGU is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, has been featured on NPR, NBC Nightly News, CNN, and in The New York Times. Learn more at

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