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Glossary: Student Loan Delinquencies

Deferral — Postponed until a later time.

Delinquent — Failing to make timely payments under a loan or other credit agreement.

Delinquency rate – In general it refers to a percentage determined by dividing the number of loans that have delinquent payments by the number of total loans.  In this article, the term refers to the percent of the loan balance that is delinquent.

Discretionary income – The portion of personal income available for spending after taxes and basic essentials have been deducted.

Federal student loans – Loans provided by the government to post-secondary students and their parents to assist in paying for education. 

Forbearance – Temporary suspension or reduction of monthly loan payments, usually up to one year.

Full-time employment – Although defined by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as employment of 35 hours or more in a week, the matter of “full-time employment” is generally determined by the employer. 

Gainful employment – A job, especially one taken after graduation, that is suited to the ability and potentiality of the one employed.

Inflation – A general, sustained upward movement of prices for goods and services in an economy.

Infrastructure – Basic structures, including buildings and facilities such as roads, bridges, and waste disposal systems.

Liability – Money owed; debt.

Median – The value in an ordered set of values below and above which there is an equal number of values; the number that divides numerically ordered data into two equal halves; the middle number of a set of numbers.

Mortgage debt – Debt owed for loans for homes and real estate. 

Nonprofit schools – All public schools, including public colleges, and schools not a part of the public school system operated with no intention of making a profit.

Private (or nonpublic) schools – Schools owned and operated by an individual;  religious institution;  partnership; or a corporation other than the state, a subdivision of the state, or the federal government; and supported primarily with nonpublic funds.

Private, for-profit colleges – Colleges managed and governed by private organizations or corporations with the goal of earning profit.

Public schools – Schools that receive monetary support from public funds.

Student loan defaults – Student loans with no likelihood of being paid in full by the borrowers.

Unemployment rate – The percentage of the labor force that is willing and able to work, does not currently have a job, and is actively looking for employment.