The United States Department of Education released the national student loan default numbers for FY 2009 and the numbers are staggering.

The default rates have increased to 8.8 percent, up from 7.0 percent in FY 2008.The sectors who saw an increase include: public education, up to 7.2 percent from 6.0 percent last year; private institutions, up to 4.6 percent from 4.0 percent last year; and for profit institutions saw a jump to 15 percent from 11.6 percent last year.

The economic hard times the country is experiencing is having a direct link on student loan borrowers and institutions with excessive loan default rates may lose eligibility in one or more of the federal student aid programs.

“These hard economic times have made it even more difficult for student borrowers to repay their loans, and that’s why implementing education reforms and protecting the maximum Pell grant is more important than ever,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. We need to ensure that all students are able to access and enroll in quality programs that prepare them for well-paying jobs so they can enter the workforce and compete in our global marketplace.”

To read more about the measures in place to protect students, click here to access the Education Department News web site.