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Investment Insights from Student Loan Data

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Direct loans are low-interest loans for parents and students to help pay for the cost of post high-school education. Parent PLUS, available through the Direct Loan Program, lets parents borrow money to pay costs not already covered by a student's financial aid package.

The current PLUS interest rate is fixed at 7.21%. The Parent PLUS, combined with other student loans, should lower the student loan default rate. However, we should note that the financial responsibility rests Parent PLUS not on students, but on parents.

When a borrower fails to make their monthly payment at a scheduled point in time, a default occurs. The cohort default rate is the percentage of a school’s borrowers who enter into a repayment agreement on Direct Student Loans during a given fiscal year and default within the period.

Cohort default rates nearly tripled from 2007 to 2010. The US government is now focused on strengthening the Federal Direct PLUS Loan Program to stop the default rate increase.

While the…