Tips for involving others in your default prevention efforts

Submitted by: Shannon Cross, USA Funds account executive
1. The more people you involve, the greater the chance your efforts will succeed.
Default prevention programs initiated by one person or one office will sometimes work, but collaborative initiatives among representatives from different areas of the school — not just financial aid — will be more effective. Look around your school and talk to key departments, such as admissions, orientation, faculty and student affairs, to identify who the stakeholders are and who is likely to contribute positively to the efforts.

2. Build some excitement around this idea at the institutional level and, while you are at it, build consensus, too.
The goal here is to educate the team on why default prevention matters:
• Share information on your school’s historical cohort default rate (CDR) performance and estimates of its potential future CDR. Explain what that means for the school.
• Gather specific student stories to help make the focus on student success more relevant and compelling.
• Help your colleagues identify what is in it for them: increased enrollment, decreased withdrawals, better retention and completion rates, continued access to federal financial aid and, most importantly, successful alumni.

3. Explain the link to retention.
Historically, the majority of borrowers who default are those who withdrew from school without completing their academic programs. And in most cases, these students withdrew within the first three terms. Describe this correlation between loan default and lack of program completion with your colleagues. Ask if other people at your school are concerned about keeping students enrolled, and brainstorm together about what could help make a difference.

Have you done anything to involve your colleagues in default prevention that has particularly resonated?