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Cohort Default Rate (CDR)

CDR Notification
CDR Appeals
CDR Resources

A college’s eligibility to participate in the Federal Student Aid (FSA) programs can be affected by a high cohort default rate (CDR).  With a high CDR, a college could lose eligibility to participate in the Federal student loan programs and may also become ineligible to participate in the Federal Pell Grant Program.

The cohort default rate (CDR) is defined as the percentage of a college’s student borrowers entering repayment on federal student loans [Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) or Federal Direct Loan Program] during a specific fiscal year who default on those loans within the cohort default period.  The cohort default period refers to the three-year period that begin on October 1 of a fiscal year when the borrower enters repayment and ends on September 30 of the second year following the fiscal year which the borrower entered repayment.

For colleges with 29 or fewer borrowers entering repayment during a fiscal year, the cohort default rate is an average rate based on borrowers entering repayment over a three-year period.

CDR Notification

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) calculates a college’s CDR based on information from guaranty agencies and federal loan processors. ED sends draft default rates to participating colleges in February to allow them the opportunity to review and correct data that will be used to calculate the official CDR. 

In September of each year, the ED issues the official CDRs. The draft and official rates are electronically sent to colleges and posted on the NSLDS Professional Access website.  Colleges must enroll in the Electronic Cohort Default Rate (eCDR) process for electronic delivery of the rates via the Student Aid Internet Gateway (SAIG) Enrollment Site.

CDR Appeals

A college may wish to appeal its CDR if it identifies discrepancies in the data used to calculate its rate.  The eCDR Appeals application is a web-based application that allows colleges to submit data corrections, challenges, new data adjustments and loan servicing appeals during the cohort default rate appeal cycles.

Refer to the FSA e-CDR Appeal System introduction page for information about the appeal process and links to various guides for assistance with the appeal registration process and submission of appeal records .

CDR Resources

The Cohort Default Rate Guide found under the Publications tab on the Information for Financial Aid Professionals (IFAP) website provides detailed information about CDR terminology, criteria, calculations, exceptions and appeal procedures.