The number of students who default on their student loans at Mohave Community College continues to drop. 

On Friday, the college’s governing board learned the school hit a low of 14.8% in 2016. The national average for two-year institutions is 15.9%.

Those are the most recent numbers available as of Sept. 23, said MCC’s Ana Masterson. She delivered the good news to the college’s governing board on Friday during its monthly board meeting.

Masterson is the school’s chief student services officer.

The default rate was previously discussed at the board’s March meeting, but the issue was on the board’s agenda again because 2016’s final figures were released.

At one time, MCC’s rate was very poor but it has vastly improved.

“In 2009, our rate was 36.6%,” Masterson said. “It was almost unthinkable that we’d ever get to 15% -- but here we are.”

The default rate is tracked by the U.S. Department of Education. Schools with high default rates can lose their eligibility to participate in federal student aid programs.

The board recognized financial aid department staff for helping shave down the rate. The school developed a plan to promote successful borrower repayment that begins with a financial literacy course for new students.

Coupled with a stronger advisory effort, MCC counselors are doing a better job of keeping students on track. Staff member keep them informed of their college loan status and the importance of paying back those loans.

“I would say (the lower default rate) is a great accomplishment for the school, the students and for our financial aid team,” said Heather Patenaude separately. She is director of financial aid.

2018-19 enrollment update

Masterson also told the board that enrollment hours increased appreciably from fall 2018 (32,662) to fall 2019 (35,478). Those figures include online students as well as students at the four MCC campuses – Havasu, Kingman, Bullhead City and the north campus.

Havasu’s fall 2018 enrollment was for 5,548 credit hours. In fall 2019, it is 6,440.

Masterson also shared data that painted a picture of MCC’s 5,558 student profiles for the 2018-19 school year:

- 66% were female

- The average age was 27 and most students were under age 30.

- For new students, the most popular courses were general studies and liberal arts.

- They had an average 2.8 GPA and 9% were on academic probation.

- 48% worked full time and 34% worked part time.

- 53% of the students surveyed said they worked at jobs related to their program of study.

- The student return rate from fall semester to spring semester was 75%.

The next governing board meeting is at 9 a.m. on Nov. 8 at the Lake Havasu City campus in Building 500. There is no board meeting in December.


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