Default rate for repaying student loans drops

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Education Department says there’s been another drop in the percentage of people who are defaulting on their student loans in the first years they are due.

More than 5.1 million borrowers began paying back their loans in the 2012 budget year, and about 611,000 defaulted — about 11.8 percent.

The rate was 13.7 percent in 2011 and 14.7 percent for 2010.

The drop was seen across all sectors of higher education — public, private and for-profit institutions.

Schools with high default rates can lose eligibility to take part in federal financial aid programs.