ISU student loan default rate higher than state, national averages

By Mike Petrovsky

For the Journal

A rise in the number of Idaho State University students during the recession and the university’s function as a community college are primary factors contributing to ISU’s student loan default rate, which is higher than state and national averages, an ISU official said this week.

The university loan default rate is 15 percent, reported James Martin, director of the ISU Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships. Average student loan default rates in Idaho and nationally are much lower – 13.1 percent and 13.7 percent respectively, according to the Associated Press.

Martin says ISU’s higher default rate is partly the reflection of a “bump” in enrollment that occurred at the university between 2007 and 2010, or during the recession.

And he said the other major contributing factor to the higher rate is that ISU serves as a community college.

“The wages aren’t quite has high for community college graduates,” said Martin, adding that as a result those graduates have a harder time paying back their loans.

“And once the students leave school, we lose contact with them and that puts us between a rock and a hard place,” Martin said.

Yet Martin said that ISU’s default rate is low compared with other Idaho higher learning institutions that also serve as community colleges.

“The College of Southern Idaho (in Twin Falls), College of Western Idaho (in Nampa) and Northern Idaho College (in Coeur d’Alene) are in the 22 to 24 percent default range,” Martin said.

To help solve the student loan default rate problem, which the Associated Press reports is on the rise statewide, Martin said that about a year and half ago ISU contracted with the Utah Higher Education Assistance Authority, which contacts ISU graduates once they are they 90 days delinquent in paying their loans. The organization tells graduates where they can assistance with paying back their loans or getting their monthly payments reduced.

As a further precaution, Martin said ISU has taken it upon itself to contact graduates who are 60 days delinquent to give them a heads up that they will be getting calls from the Utah authority in 30 days.

“We’re hoping to see results from these efforts soon,” Martin said.

Although defaulting on student loans has been an increasing problem among graduates statewide, the U.S. Department of Education says the national loan default rate has been declining, according to the Associated Press.

“Our economy hasn’t always been the best over the last few years,” Dan Davenport, student financial aid director at the University of Idaho, told the Idaho Statesman in a story on Monday.

That combined with rising college costs, low Idaho wages and students borrowing too much could be contributing to the increase in default rates in Idaho, the state’s university officials have told the Associated Press.

Boise State University’s default rate is at 11.4 percent, and the University of Idaho is at 8.3 percent.

“We do talk to students about smart borrowing choices,” said Jim Anderson, Boise State’s associate vice president for enrollment services. “We talk to them about their ability to reduce loans.”

The Institute of College Access and Success says the average total debt for those graduating in 2012 was $26,602 at Idaho State University, $27,369 at Boise State University and $26,809 at the University of Idaho.

Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston had a default rate of 11.3 percent, down 6 percent from 2010. School officials attributed the reduction to a nonprofit group called American Student Assistance that helps students determine their payments based on their income.

The federal government gives graduates three years to start paying on their college loans. The student loan default rate percentages used in this story represent those who graduated in the 2011 fiscal year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Bengals drop Sunday contest with Griz



MISSOULA, Montana — Amanda Ellsworth scored her Big Sky leading eighth goal of the season, but Idaho State fell 3-1 to Montana Sunday afternoon in Missoula.

The senior forward collected a Griz turnover and beat the keeper to tie the game at one in the 18th minute.

The home team would strike back right before halftime when Maddy Emerick found the back of the net to give Montana a 2-1 lead.

The score would remain the same until the 77th minute when Hallie Widner scored her second of the match and fifth of the season, clinching the victory for the Grizzlies.

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Bengals in the NFL: Hill scores again, Dietrich-Smith and the Bucs win for the first time



Former Idaho State Bengal and Blackfoot native Josh Hill caught his second touchdown of the season in New Orleans’ 38-17 loss to Dallas on Sunday in Arlington, Texas.

Drew Brees threw a 12-yard touchdown to Hill in the fourth quarter as the Saints (1-3) tried to rally from a 24-point halftime deficit.

Hill’s touchdown was his lone catch of the game. The second-year tight end has four catches for 59 yards and two touchdowns this season.

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Arias named Big Sky’s offensive Player of the Week



The Big Sky Conference selected Idaho State quarterback Justin Arias as its offensive Player of the week for games played last weekend.

Arias outdueled Sacramento State quarterback Garrett Safron, completing 30-of-42 passes for 413 yards and two touchdowns in Idaho State’s 44-24 victory over the Hornets.

The Bengals senior signal caller guided an offense that rolled up 639 yards of offense. Arias is averaging 298.8 yards per game through the air, the second-best mark in the Big Sky and his 10 passing touchdowns is third in the league.

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The good and the bad: ISU vs. Sac State: Deciphering the pluses and minuses from the Bengals’ win

BY KYLE FRANKO   @ByKyleFranko

Mike Kramer has preached that the Bengals have to win their home games. Any good team, he pontificates, takes advantage of its home field.

It’s a sure sign that if Idaho State can start winning its games at Holt Arena, the program will ascend to “respectability,” Kramer says.

“To build a program you have to hold the fort at home,” Kramer said after ISU’s 44-24 win over Sacramento State on Saturday. “To build championships, you never lose at home. I think today was a really good testimony and testament to what a football team has to do to rise itself.”

For now, Kramer and the 2-2 Bengals can bask in the glow of a win at home against a Big Sky opponent with a winning record.

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Idaho State University Homecoming 2014

Photos by Bethany Baker/Idaho State University

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‘Edge of Tomorrow’ showing at Bengal Theater at ISU

POCATELLO —Sci-fi thriller, “Edge of Tomorrow” plays Sunday, Oct. 12 at 3, 5:15, and 7:30 p.m. in the Bengal Theater at the Idaho State University Pond Student Union.

When a cowardly soldier is killed as an alien race launches a relentless  attack on Earth, he finds himself thrown in a time loop that allows him to live the day over and over again, giving him a chance to change the outcome.

“Breathlessly exciting, wildly entertaining, ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ is a wake-up call to makers of formulaic  alien-invasion thrillers … the best Tom Cruise movie in years.” writes Rolling Stone. (Rated PG-13) Admission is $2 for the public, or $1 for ISU students.

For trailer and more information, go to www.  .

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Farming Driscolls are huge ISU fans



For the Journal

POCATELLO — Dirk Driscoll and his wife Dayna didn’t attend Idaho State University — they both went to Ricks College. But the Driscolls were among the Bengals’ strongest supporters during the ISU homecoming game Saturdayagainst Sacramento State at Holt Arena.

The couple mingled with other ISU supporters in the Bennion Room on Saturday at halftime when ISU led by a touchdown. Dirk is outgoing and energetic. Dayna is more reserved, but warm and cordial.

Dirk co-owns Driscoll Farms Inc., Driscoll Trucking and a cold pack operation for Green Giant. His partners are his brothers, Brock, Lorraine, Thayne and Lincoln Driscoll.

“Seven out of eight siblings are still involved in the farm,” Dirk said.

In 2012, Dirk was named to the ISU Foundation Board of Directors and he said there is a long-standing Driscoll family tradition at ISU.

“I believe we owe a great deal of gratitude to ISU,” Dirk said.

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