Only about 3% of Illinois State University students default on their student loans. Associate Provost Jonathan Rosenthal says that's better than the 14% Illinois average and the 13% national default rate. One factor, Rosenthal says is the overall reasonable average loan debt of just under $23,000 for ISU students.
Rosenthal says even though average student debt has risen by nearly $8,000 in the last eight years from about 15,000, the loan default rate hasn't changed much. One reason, he believes is that ISU encourages students to work rather than using loans to pay living expenses.
ISU also distributes 30 million dollars in university grants, more than it hands out from either state or federal sources. Total grants top $75 million. Rosenthal says nearly a third of ISU students graduate with no debt at all, far higher than most institutions.
Support Your Public Radio Station