Assemble a Team to Defeat High Default Rates

By Debbie Bradford, USA Funds Consultant

By now you probably know your school’s 2010 three-year cohort default rate and 2011 two-year cohort default rate.

Those rates may have sparked your office to establish a plan for lowering your rates in the future. Your school may even be federally required to develop a default prevention plan, and you may be facing sanctions tied to a high cohort default rate.

When planning your attack on high default rates, remember this: Get help.

My colleagues on the USA Funds® team of consultants and I frequently tout the importance of administrative buy-in in successful default prevention efforts. And if your school’s cohort default rate is putting it in danger of sanctions, chances are your school’s top-level administration already recognizes the importance of getting your rates back on track.

You’ll also need support from a variety of other areas on campus. In fact, if your school’s cohort default rate hit the threshold for being federally required to develop a default prevention plan, you’ll also have to establish a task force to address the issue.
Not sure where to turn on campus for help in your default prevention efforts? You may want to start simple, recruiting a few key allies at your school you know can help champion your cause. Then build from there, assembling a team that will help you incorporate debt management messages throughout the campus experience.

Here are some campus areas whose representatives you may want to include on your debt management team:

  1. Enrollment management.
  2. Student success.
  3. Academic affairs.
  4. Alumni affairs.
  5. Career planning.
  6. Faculty.
  7. Institutional research.
  8. Admissions.
  9. Registrar.
  10. Student government.

Then go to work establishing a debt management plan for your school, meeting regularly — and continuing to meet even after putting the plan in action, to review and revise the plan as necessary.

Contact USA Funds for more help with encouraging campus-wide collaboration for default prevention. USA Funds also provides a variety of default prevention tools to include in your plans to lower your cohort default rate.