Lost in the Trillion
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Although default rates have decreased in recent years, community colleges still struggle to keep their rates in check: 18.5 percent of borrowers from public two-year colleges default within three years compared to the national average rate of 11.3 percent. In 2015, ACCT published A Closer Look at the Trillion, a report that highlighted the borrowing and repayment trends of community college students in Iowa. In Lost in the Trillion, the authors build on this body of research by analyzing data from the community and technical college system in Kentucky and Louisiana. They find similar trends in all three states with some notable differences, which may reflect how borrowers are responding to federal student loan repayment options. While some of these findings are heartening, it is still clear that federal student loan policies need to be improved in order to help borrowers – especially those with low incomes and low balances – repay their debt.