Set right between the commerce and industry of downtown Minneapolis and a leafy, historic neighborhood of beautiful homes, museums, lakes, and parks, Dunwoody College of Technology knows what it's like to be in a unique position.
As one of only a handful of private, non-profit technical colleges in the country it has a special place in the world of higher education. While mission-driven and focused on developing leaders and entrepreneurs, Dunwoody also works tirelessly on the nuts and bolts of solid career training.
Private post-secondary schools regularly see close to 70% of their students taking federal financial aid. Yet, technical schools that mostly grant associates degrees generally only see borrower rates around 40%. As a private, technical school, the majority of Dunwoody students use loans to finance their education.
Dunwoody is innovative and unique in the sector, but shares a similar challenge to other schools.
Cohort Default Rates Climb
Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 was the first year that a "3-year" Cohort Default Rate (CDR) would be the official measuring stick of how well student loan borrowers were progressing with repayment of their loans. All post-secondary schools that accepted federal student loans would be measured by the Department of Education on this now longer scale measurement that calculated the percentage of students defaulting on their loans within 3-years of repayment.
In September, 2013, the national CDR for FY2010 was announced at 14.7% and many wondered if student loans were going to be the newest bubble to burst our economy. Dunwoody, like many other schools, was not happy with its rate.
But that is when schools like Dunwoody stepped up to face default head-on. Kimberly Helm, Dunwoody’s Bursar, explains that lowering default is not easy, but by showing some additional care, they've been able to realize a 32% drop in their CDR. Here's how they did it and how they plan to keep it down: