Career Education Corporation (CEC) (NASDAQ: CECO), a global provider of postsecondary education programs and services, demonstrated its commitment to studying, sharing and promoting solutions that address student loan defaults by co-sponsoring “Student Loan Default Aversion: Forum on Research and Best Practices,” a conference that brought together experts on the topic Friday in Washington, D.C.
“A wide cross section of higher education institutions attended the forum, clearly demonstrating the broad, growing concern about student loan defaults, especially among institutions that serve higher risk borrowers,” said Diane Auer Jones, CEC’s Vice President of External and Regulatory Affairs and formerly the Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education at the U.S. Department of Education. “The data would suggest that there is a conflict between our national policy goals of increasing access while reducing student loan defaults. We don’t believe these two objectives should be at odds with one another and hope to bring the best researchers and practitioners together to find effective, scalable solutions that work for the many non-traditional borrowers who unnecessarily default on their student loans. We want to be a part of that discussion as we aim to be part of the solution.”
Held at the National Press Club, the forum elicited a spirited discussion on the topic starting with the insightful opening remarks made by Terry Hartle, Senior Vice President, Government and Public Affairs for the American Council on Education. The Chronicle of Higher Education hosted and moderated the event, which was co-sponsored by the Education Finance Council.
Regardless of the institution they represented – from private colleges to state universities to community colleges to private sector colleges and universities – event participants seemed to agree that if institutions are to be held accountable for a student’s default, then they should have the ability to moderate the amount students borrow in excess of direct educational costs. There was also agreement that borrowers from low-income families are more likely to default, in part because they have no parental safety net upon which to rely during times of economic challenge. And clearly the downturn in the economy, which has had a disproportionate impact on the careers of younger adults, has caused more students to suffer financial hardships.