Analysis: In a Decade, Default-Rate Hammer Has Hit Just 2 Dozen Times

For all the attention paid to the U.S. Department of Education's annual report on default rates on student loans, Monday's release of the latest calculations is just a reminder of how faulty the rates can be, both in rooting out colleges that serve their students poorly and in reflecting the difficulties students may be having in managing their educational debt.

In theory, the department wields an enormous hammer: It can deny access to federal student aid at colleges where default