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WGU’s Loan Default Rate is Less than Half the National Average for Sixth Consecutive Year

Online, nonprofit university students also borrow half as much as students nationwide

Dec 16, 2019

ST. LOUIS – Students graduating from WGU Missouri and its parent university Western Governors University are less likely to default on student loan repayments, according to recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE). For the sixth consecutive year, official three-year cohort default rates for all Title IV-eligible institutions show that WGU’s numbers are significantly lower compared to national averages. WGU’s student loan default rate remains stable at 4.2 percent, which is less than half the national average rate of 10.1 percent.

One reason WGU seems to buck the national trend is that it encourages students to borrow only what they need. The university’s Responsible Borrowing Initiative provides students with tools they need to make informed financial decisions. Since the program was implemented in 2014, the average borrowing per student per year has decreased by 40 percent. This year, the average federal student loan debt for WGU students graduating between July 1, 2018, and June 30, 2019, dropped to $14,941 – a decrease of $433 year over year and less than half the national average. Additionally, a 2018 survey of graduates by Harris Poll Online showed that WGU graduates reported an average increase in salary of $18,400 within 4 years of graduation, compared to an average of $12,400 among other universities in the U.S.

“WGU Missouri prides itself on encouraging students to borrow responsibly by providing them with information they need to make smart, informed decisions about their student loans and personal finance in general,” said Dr. Angie Besendorfer, Chancellor of WGU Missouri. “WGU’s affordable, flat-rate tuition of about $7,000 per year makes it possible for students to borrow less, while our degree programs produce graduates who find success in their careers, putting them in a better position to repay their loans.”

For more information about WGU Missouri and its Responsible Borrowing Initiative, visit

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