List: South College students more likely to default than graduate

3:02 PM, Jul 2, 2013   |    comments
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As student loan rates go up, an East Tennessee college landed on a national list that's getting attention for some not-so-positive reasons.

South College is on a list of more than 260 colleges and universities where students are more likely to default on their loans than full-time freshmen are to graduate.

USA Today compiled the list based on federal data.

South College is a for-profit, private school. More than 800 students are enrolled.

The graduation rate is 23%, while the default rate is more than 24%.

Average tuition costs are more than $16,000 dollars a year.

In response to the list, Steve South, President of South College, released the following statement: 

The graduation rate for South College listed in the USA Today article is based only on reporting requirements for full-time, first time students enrolling in the fall quarter with the latest being for 2006. This is not the typical South College student.

A majority of South College students are returning to school for degrees or training for a new career and may begin classes in any quarter throughout the year. In fact, for the year reported, only 33 of the more than 150 students enrolling in the fall quarter for the first time met the criteria measured.

When considering the overall student body, South College retention rates average 68 percent annually and for those admitted to programs that rate increases to 89 percent.

The reported South College 3-year default rate of 24.3 percent has been revised by the US Department of Education to 23.7 percent in January 2013. This rate continues to be well within the guidelines set by the Department of Education and South College continues full participation in all federal grant and loan programs for its students.

Additionally, the most recent data from the Department of Education noted that the two-year default rate for South College's students in 2011 is projected to be 10.6 percent.

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