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Keeping Track: Paying back Uncle Sam

Loan defaults drop as volume of loans grows

The default rate on government student loans has dropped to the lowest level since Washington began keeping track in 1986, according to a recent study.

The Department of Education reports that the rate dipped to 8.8 percent in fiscal 1997, from 9.6 percent the year before. (It takes two years to calculate an annual default rate.) Education Secretary Richard Riley gave credit for the drop to responsible student borrowers, schools, lenders, a crackdown on debtors, and the robust economy.

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The overall volume of loans, meanwhile, has risen.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society