College Major

College major plays a moderate role in predicting default, with General Studies majors having a higher default rate (14.7 percent) than other majors (Steiner and Teszler 2003).
Volkwein and Szelest (1995) found that specific majors can be associated with lower default rates. A college major in a scientific, engineering, or agricultural discipline lowers the default probability by over 4 percent among two-year, four-year, and university borrowers (Volkwein and Szelest 1995).
Borrowers who change majors once or twice have lower default rates, whereas those who change majors more than twice have higher rates (Steiner and Teszler 2003).
Borrowers who obtain second majors have lower default rates than borrowers who do not obtain second majors (Steiner and Teszler 2003).
The greater the incongruence between a student’s undergraduate major and his or her current employment, the higher the risk factor for default (Flint 1997).
Attendance Factors
The default rates of borrowers decrease as their length of time at college increases: students enrolled only 1-4 semesters have higher default rates than students enrolled for longer periods, and students with 110 or fewer hours of credit have higher default rates than students with 111 or more hours (Steiner and Teszler 2003).
Similar to the findings on number of semesters in college and number of hours of credit, the number of years enrolled also plays a part in default. Borrowers who leave school after two to five years have low default rates whereas borrowers who leave after one year or less default at a rate of 14 percent. However, extending attendance beyond five years has a negative impact on default: undergraduate borrowers who have six or more years between the time they first attended school and their most recent departure have relatively high default rates. This holds true even among students who are successful at completing their studies: even among borrowers who graduate, those who take six or more years have considerably higher default rates than those who graduate in five years or less (Steiner and Teszler 2003).
Borrowers who do not attend college during any summer semester have a default rate of 8.9 percent whereas borrowers who attend during two summer semesters have a default rate of 2.9 percent (Steiner and Teszler 2003).

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