Sure, the University of Wyoming has a low tuition rate, so its students borrow less to attend school and don't have as much to pay back when they graduate.
But Tammy Aagard, the university's interim director for financial aid, says there is another reason why UW has achieved a remarkably low 3.1 percent default rate on loans borrowed by its students. It all goes back to the ethics of the Wyoming people.
"They are raised with values of hard work and honesty," she says. "If students default, this will follow them forever," she says. "Our students are meeting their obligation to repay their loans to attend UW."
The national rate at which students defaulted on their federal loans in the two-year period ending Sept. 30, 2010, was 8.9 percent, an increase of nearly two percentage points over the two-year rate for the previous year, according to draft data released by the U.S. Department of Education.
The national default rate for public colleges was 7.3 percent, and for private, nonprofit colleges it was 4.7 percent, according to the draft data. Those rates increased from prior years—last year the two-year default rate for public colleges was 6 percent, and the year before it was 5.9 percent.