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How Many People Don’t Pay Their Student Loans?

Amid concerns about rising levels of student debt and high default levels, the Consumer Bankers Association, a trade group of lenders, has said that “only 3% of private student loans are seriously delinquent.” The association is citing data from MeasureOne, a San Francisco-based firm that tracks the student-loan market.

By contrast, the U.S. Education Department, which makes federal student loans, has reported double-digit default rates. (Federal loan balances represent about 92% of the market, according to MeasureOne.)

But it’s not so easy to draw a firm conclusion that fewer private-loan borrowers than federal-loan borrowers are having repayment problems. The numbers are based on different methodologies.