Missouri is one of the top ten states for reducing student loan default rates, according to the U.S. Department of Education.
Zora Mulligan is the Missouri Commissioner of Higher Education at the Missouri Department of Higher Education. Mulligan said Missouri offers statewide programs that have helped lower default rates. The Default Prevention Loan Program gives students the knowledge they need to pay back their loans, she said.
Mulligan said the department stresses that students should borrow only what they need, apply for scholarships and complete their degree.
“Every state does it a little bit differently,” Mulligan said. “I think that we focus on it more than some other states as is reflected in our success this year. We have staff that work exclusively on this program. We have a lot of people that we work with at the colleges and universities who also make it a very high priority.”
Although Missouri’s default rate is lower than most other states, the University of Missouri’s default rate is even lower.
Nick Prewett, Executive Director of Student Financial Aid at MU, said this may mean that despite the University of Missouri’s higher tuition than other schools in the state, their financial outreach to students is better than other schools.
MU has been awarded the Student Loan Default Prevention Grant from the state for the past four years. Prewett said the reasoning may be budgeting workshops held on campus.
“Not only are we helping them reduce the total amount of money that they need,” Prewett said, “we’re also setting them up for future success by providing them options in budgeting to make sure that they can make payments on their loans if they decide to take those out.”