1999 OSAP figures show decline in the default rates of McMaster students


[img_inline align=”right” src=”http://padnws01.mcmaster.ca/images/osap.gif”]McMaster continues to show an impressive decline in the default rates of students issued Ontario Student Assistance Plan loans (OSAP).

Figures released by the provincial government on Jan. 26 show the school's default rate at 6.0 per cent in 1999, down from 6.6 per cent a year earlier. It is a marked decrease from 12.2 per cent in 1997.

Province-wide, the rate among university graduates was 8.4 per cent in 1999 compared with 12.3 per cent the previous year.

“It's indicative of how well McMaster has prepared its graduates to go on into the workplace,” says Liza Jamani, administrator of Financial Aid, specifically OSAP.

“One of the reasons that our graduates are able to pay off their loans is the fact that they have the resources to do so. That says they're making an impact in the workforce. We are very pleased with these numbers.”

An Ontario Student Loan is considered in default when the Ontario government has paid a bank's claim for an inactive loan. A loan is inactive when no payments were made by the student for at least 90 days.

McMaster has the fourth lowest rate in Ontario, trailing only the University of Waterloo (4.9 per cent), Queen's University (5.5 per cent) and Wilfrid Laurier University (5.7 per cent).

Default rates are highest at vocational schools, where they dropped to 31 per cent in 1999 from 34.5 per cent the previous year. Colleges had a 20.1 per cent default rate last year compared with 25.4 per cent in 1998. The government has set of a goal of getting the student default rate below 10 per cent by 2003.

Dianne Cunningham, provincial minister of training, colleges and universities, expects the default rate in Ontario to continue its decline as a result of several new measures, including: credit screening of new loan applicants; recovering defaulted loans from income tax refunds, and requiring schools to disclose details about current rates of default, graduation and placement to help students make better decisions.

The 1999 rates are based on students who were issued loans in 1996-97 and graduated or left their studies that same year.