To develop and/or improve default prevention efforts at your institution, the MDHEWD’s student success staff created these top ten best practices to assist you with helping your students achieve their educational, personal, and professional goals.


Top Ten Best Practices for Default Prevention


  1. Organize a Default Prevention and/or Student Success Team at your institution. Don’t know where to start? Review the MDHEWD’s The Smart Approach to Campus wide Retention and Default Prevention Efforts pamphlet to assist with developing and promoting a more cohesive retention, student success, and default prevention plans. Additionally, colleges and universities across Missouri are encouraged to take advantage of our financial literacy and default prevention trainings and workshops.
  2. Profile your institution's defaulted borrowers to determine who the at-risk students are on your campus. Develop programs and/or activities at your institution to specifically address this at-risk population.
  3. Make retention part of default prevention efforts. Focus on academics as well as providing personal or financial counseling for at-risk students.
  4. Emphasize the benefits of paying interest on student loans while still in school. Distribute the MDHEWD's handy budget planner Planning for Financial Success to students for tips to help guide them through the year.
  5. Create a "loan reminder" presentation/counseling session for returning loan borrowers each academic year. MDHEWD survey results from delinquent and defaulted borrowers indicated that more than 50% of borrowers borrowed more than they expected. Help future borrowers avoid this mistake!
  6. Host financial literacy workshops on your campus throughout the year; e.g., in classes or included in new-student orientation at the beginning of the year. Contact the MDHEWD’s student success staff to help make these workshops interactive and memorable.
  7. Create a personalized repayment calendar to use during exit counseling for your student loan borrowers. Include important information such as the half-way point of the six-month grace period, end of grace period, and first repayment due date as well as total amount owed, estimated monthly payment amounts, and loan servicer contact information.
  8. Provide lifetime job placement assistance for your students.
  9. Include financial aid and retention staff in the student withdrawal process.
  10. Use creative techniques to contact students and borrowers. 
    • Use sidewalk chalk messages to promote financial literacy events and important dates on campus.
    • Send handwritten mail reminders to borrowers’ half-way through grace period and again when first payments are due.
    • Send postcards to remind students you are available to answer any questions they may have about their student loans.