Default Management

As the Director of Federal Student Aid's Operations Performance Division (OPD), I welcome you to the Default Management Web site.

On October 28, 2009, the Department of Education published in the Federal Register the regulations enacted by the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA) that govern the calculation of cohort default rates. Under the provisions in section 436(e) of the HEOA, a school’s cohort default rate is calculated as the percentage of borrowers in the cohort who default before the end of the second fiscal year following the fiscal year in which the borrowers entered repayment. The regulations in the HEOA extended the length of time in which a borrower who is in default can be included in the default rate calculation from two years to three years.

As mandated by the HEOA, this year, schools received only a 3-year cohort default rate as the Department no longer calculates 2-year rates. OPD calculates draft and official 3-year cohort default rates, disseminates the rates to schools electronically and allows schools the ability to challenge/appeal the rates since both benefits and sanctions apply to particular cohort default rate thresholds. This Web site integrates the publication of the 3-year cohort default rate while providing default-related information, references, and resources for these rates in one location.

Guaranty agency and lender cohort default rates are also calculated and disseminated by OPD; however, this Web site pertains only to school cohort default rates and associated issues including default prevention.

I invite you to peruse the question and answer section in which we include our most frequently asked questions. Should you need any further information regarding school cohort default rates, please contact our hotline at (202) 377-4259 or e-mail us at

In addition to cohort default rate assistance, Federal Student Aid provides default prevention support for schools. For questions related to default prevention, contact For consolidated delinquency and default prevention resources, refer to the Default Prevention Resource Information Web page.

Thank You,
Katrina Turner 
Operations Performance Division

The audience-specific links listed below are categorized by Financial Aid ProfessionalsData Managers, and Students.

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