About one in seven borrowers defaulted on their federal student loans, showing how former students are buckling under higher-education costs in a weak economy.
The default rate, for the first three years that students are required to make payments, was 14.7 percent, up from 13.4 percent the year before, the U.S. Education Department said Monday. Based on a related measure, defaults are at the highest level since 1995.
The fresh data follows the announcement by Barack Obama's administration that it would seek to restrain skyrocketing college expenses by tying federal financial aid to a new government rating of costs and educational outcomes. The rising number of defaults shows the pain of borrowers, said Rory O'Sullivan, policy and research director at Young Invincibles, a Washington nonprofit group.