• Tools and Solutions

How many days are left to impact the active student loan borrower cohorts?

George Covino

One of the points I make repeatedly when speaking with financial aid administrators interested in managing their federal student loan cohort default rates is the need to work all active cohorts instead of just the current year. I often share a chart that shows the days remaining in the cohort as of the date we are speaking and usually they ask, “How can I get that?” I’m so excited to report that we now have a dynamic version of that chart available on our website at studentconnections.org/CohortDaysLeft. Check it out!

  • The chart for today shows that the CY2014 is closed. At this point, there is nothing you can do to influence that rate because we are past the timeline for submitting appeals. If there are any changes to your rate based on an appeal, you will be notified when official rates are released sometime in September 2017. The best action you can take for this cohort at this time is to analyze your defaulters if you have not already done so. Developing a profile of defaulted borrowers should be the first step in planning appropriate default prevention strategies for future cohorts.
  • CY2015 has only 137 days left before the cohort is closed and the U.S. Department of Education starts to calculate draft rates for release in February 2018. You may want to focus on late stage delinquency for this cohort.  Communication should stress borrower options urgently and you should work to connect borrowers directly with their servicers so they can help the borrower resolve any problems and get on the right path.
  • CY2016 has 502 days left. For these borrowers, your strategy is to communicate efficiently, effectively and often! You should schedule regular communication by various methods and encourage borrower participation.  If you have conducted your analysis of who defaults and why, you will be able to target your efforts to those borrowers who most need the help.
  • CY2017 has 867 days left. Your strategy for this cohort is to counsel, educate and ensure that you maintain complete records including updating NSLDS, current contact information and references. You still have the opportunity to create educated consumers with this group of borrowers so you can focus on explaining options and resources. As with all student loan borrowers, anything you can do to help them get the most out of limited resources will be helpful in the long run.

Cohort default rates are difficult to understand, even for financial aid administrators. Another use for this chart is to provide other administrators on campus with a “snapshot” of the timeframes associated with your default prevention efforts. Generally, other administrators may think you are only dealing with one cohort at a time. Sharing this chart may be a way of getting buy-in, support and resources for your default prevention efforts.

I hope you find this resource useful and use it often! For information on how we can help you with your default prevention efforts, read more about our solutions, Borrower Connect and Success Center. If you have any suggestions on how others could use this resource, I’d love to hear your thoughts. You can contact me via email, Twitter or LinkedIn.

George CovinoGeorge Covino is Student Connections’ vice president of student success.