In a Nov. 5 Post article, Education Secretary William Bennett indicated that academic institutions that have high student-loan default rates will be investigated and could eventually be removed from the federal Guaranteed Student Loan program.

While defaulting on student loans is action that should not be tolerated, denying the program to an entire institution because of the actions of a portion of a school's population seems equally reprehensible.

The source of the problem is those students who do not take their financial responsibility seriously. It would be more equitable to make the individual who made the original commitment pay the loan back, rather than to disallow the benefits of this program to those who will repay their debt.

Institutions that have a high default rate could be put under a program that would give them special incentives to reduce their default rates. One suggestion is to put holds on academic records for those students who have loans that are in default. This action would not even need the initiative of the federal government. It is an action that should be taken by responsible college administrators and financial aid departments. It is also an action that should be encouraged by student governments.

If we students, as a group, are expecting to ask for the assistance of a government agency, the response to any such request is likely to be more receptive if our own house is in order.

DANIEL JACKSON Washington