For every borrower who defaults on a student loan, there are at least two who become delinquent without defaulting, according to a report released on Tuesday by the Institute for Higher Education Policy.
The report, which relies on data provided by five of the top guarantee agencies, focuses on 1.8 million borrowers who entered repayment in 2005.
It says that two out of five of those borrowers were delinquent at some point in their first five years of repayment, and a quarter more had postponed repayment to avoid delinquency.
The report offers a fuller picture of the challenges borrowers face in repaying their loans than the federal cohort default rate, which looks only at the percentage of students who default in the first two years of repayment.
"There’s an assumption of a dichotomy between people who default on their loans and everybody else," said Alisa F. Cunningham, vice president for research and programs at the institute, in a briefing. "But, really, there are a lot of borrowers in the middle."
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