The College of New Jersey ranks 24th among all public institutions in the nation for graduates with the lowest student loan default rates, according to a new study published by the Student Loan Report. Among public schools offering baccalaureate degrees, TCNJ ranks 11th nationally and is first in New Jersey.
The college’s strong showing in this ranking is a reflection on the degree to which it prepares students for success following graduation.
“[Students] who attend excellent schools are more likely to get well-paying jobs, and are therefore less likely to default on their debt,” write the authors of Student Loan Report’s Student Loan Default Rates by School by State.
This success is reflected in TCNJ’s Class of 2015 One-Year Out Survey, in which 97 percent of respondents reported that they were employed and/or attending graduate or professional school within a year of graduating. Those who entered the workforce reported an average salary of $50,286.
At 1.47 percent, TCNJ’s student loan default rate is well below the national average. According to the U.S. Department of Education, approximately 11.3 percent of student loan borrowers default on their debt.
Wil Casaine, executive director of Financial Aid, Tutoring, and the Center for Student Success at TCNJ, also credits the college’s institutional commitment to keeping TCNJ affordable.
“Our financial aid office works with admissions and our development office to award students with merit and need-based scholarships, which are a big help in defraying the yearly cost of attendance,” he says.
Additionally, Casaine says that his office counsels students and families on their aid options and budgeting for four years of college.
“We have those tough conversations upfront,” he says. “Money and affordability conversations are never easy and can sometimes get pretty emotional, but in the end, I think they understand that we’re trying to look out for them.”
—Emily W. Dodd ’03