College student loan default rates have been going up as the economy has continued to sag/ But the state’s top higher education official expects better times are coming. Missouri student loan default rates have gone up two percentage points in the last couple of years. The escalation started to trend up in 2006 after fifteen years of steady declines. State Higher Education Commissioner Robert Stein calls the current climate “extremely challenging” and says it can leave students in difficult situations, depending on how much they borrowed.
“There are some who…are conscientious and try to make some arrangements,” he says, “There are some who run and try to hide. They see that envelope and don’t want to open it.”
Stein says it’s important students not push the debt under the carpet. Instead, he says, they should work out something with their lenders so they do not go into default.
He says the department of higher education tries to work with institutions of higher education at the front end of the scenario–working with students at the front end to reduce the likelihood of loans going into default.