SANTA PAULA—August 13, 2012— According to newly released data  (PDF) from the California Student Aid Commission, Thomas Aquinas College alumni have a 0.0 percent default rate on their student loans — a testament to the College’s affordability, the generosity of its benefactors, and the character of its graduates.
Nationwide, the student-loan default rate stands at 8.8 percent. Of the 443 public, private, and proprietary colleges and universities in California, Thomas Aquinas College is one of only seven whose graduates receive federal student loans but do not default on them. Among those seven institutions the College has the second-highest percentage of students receiving aid and the second-highest graduation rate.
In keeping with Catholic social teaching, Thomas Aquinas College has been committed, since its founding, to maintaining affordable tuition rates and never turning away students on the basis of financial need. Thanks to faithful benefactors who contribute regularly and sacrificially, the College is able to meet the needs of the 70 percent of its students who receive financial aid. Moreover, so as to ensure that graduates do not leave campus overburdened with debt, the College routinely caps individual student borrowing at $16,000 over four years.
“The absence of defaults here tells you a lot about our benefactors. It is their generosity that allows our students to graduate free of crushing debt,” says Director of Development Robert Bagdazian. “Of course, our default rate also tells you something about our alumni, and we are very proud of them.”
Thomas Aquinas College has developed a solid reputation for academic excellence in the United States and abroad. At Thomas Aquinas College, there are no majors, no minors, or electives because all students acquire a broad and fully integrated liberal education. The College offers one 4-year, classical curriculum that spans the major arts and sciences. Instead of reading textbooks, students read the original works of the greatest thinkers in Western civilization — the Great Books — in all the major disciplines: mathematics, natural science, literature, philosophy, and theology. Rather than listening to lectures, they engage in rigorous Socratic discussions about these works in classes of 15-18 students. The academic life of the college is conducted under the light of the Catholic faith and flourishes within a close-knit community, supported by a vibrant spiritual life. Genuinely committed to upholding civic virtue and leading lives dedicated to the good of others, Thomas Aquinas College graduates enter a wide array of fields where they are a powerful force for good in the Church and in the culture. Well-versed in rational discourse, they become leaders in education, law, medicine, journalism, public policy, military service, and business. In addition, a steady 10% of alumni go on to the priesthood or religious life.