It is all of a college's current and former students who during a fiscal year enter into repayment status of any Direct Subsidized Loan, Direct Unsubsidized Loan, or Federal Stafford Loan they received to attend college.
It is the number of students in a cohort who default on their loans during a fiscal year, divided by the total number of students in the cohort.
The cohort of students who enter into repayment status is monitored for a three year period. The number of students who enter into a default status during those three years become the numerator and the total number of cohort students become the denominator, which results in a percentage.
Total number of students who enter repayment status in fiscal year 2013
AND default in fiscal years 2013, 2014, and 2015
Total borrowers who enter repayment status during fiscal year 2013
In this example, the cohort default rate is scheduled to be published in 2016.