President's Blog

Lowest student loan default rate means real value for students

A college degree should help build – not mortgage – a student’s future. And a Mason degree does just that.

I am pleased – but not at all surprised – that George Mason ranks No. 1 nationally on the list for the lowest student loan default rate among U.S. public universities.

This ranking underscores what Mason students and alumni already know, and what prospective students and their families are finding out: a Mason education is a smart investment. The combination of our relatively low tuition and the well-paying jobs that so many of our graduates secure upon graduation means that our students are not financially strapped when they launch their careers.

The average national default rate on a federal student loan is 13.7 percent. Only about 1.8 percent of Mason students find themselves in this situation. With less financial burden, our graduates are in a better position to pursue their career and life goals and avoid financial distress.

Everyone at Mason should take pride in this recognition. From our faculty who prepare students to be career-ready, to our deans who create programs that anticipate the needs of employers, to our career services professionals who coach our students and help them find opportunities that match their goals and interests, to our donors, development staff, and financial aid officers who help students graduate with the least amount of debt possible. A true team effort that delivers results. Congratulations!

These outcomes are even more meaningful when considering the diversity of our student population.  Mason is a rare case in higher education in that there’s no achievement gap among ethnic groups.  All groups graduate at similar rates. Diversity is indeed our strength!

Other Virginia universities – James Madison, Christopher Newport and Radford – also were in’s top 25 for lowest student loan default rate. Great news for Virginia students.