Which graduates are most likely to default on their loans?

Data shows that some programs are a sure bet

Certain American politicians are calling on private colleges to prove that their students will get jobs before the taxpayers lend those students money. That’s because recent statistics have shown that 25 per cent of private college student loans are defaulted-on within three years, compared to 11 per cent of loans to students at public non-profit schools.

The problem of defaults isn’t nearly as big in Canada. In fact, default rates have generally dropped in the past decade. That said, key performance indicator data from Ontario’s universities shows that defaults are a bigger problem for some graduates than others. In five programs, every single student was able to pay back their loans in 2009, indicating a healthy job market in those fields. But some programs had one in 20 graduates defaulting, indicating those grads have more trouble finding work. Here are the numbers, from  the most defaults to the least.

“Other” Arts and Science 7.0 per cent

Physical Science 5.7 per cent

Humanities 5.4 per cent

Social Sciences 4.9 per cent

Fine and Applied Arts 4.6 per cent

Theology 4.4 per cent

Kineseology and Physical Education 3.8 per cent

Nursing 3.1 per cent

Business and Commerce 3.0 per cent

Agriculture & Biological Science  2.7 per cent

Other Health Professions 2.6 per cent

Mathematics 2.6 per cent

Journalism 2.5 per cent

Computer Science 2.5 per cent

Law 2.4 per cent*

Architecture 2.1 per cent

Food Science and Nutrition 1.9 per cent

Engineering 1.7 per cent

Education 1.2 per cent

Therapy and Rehabilitation 0.3 per cent

Dentistry NONE

Forestry NONE

Medicine NONE

Optometry NONE

Veterinary Medicine NONE

* The figure for Law is skewed by a program at Algoma that had a default rate of 33 per cent.

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