MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Office of Higher Education has become more aggressive about taking student loan recipients to court when they fall behind on payments to keep its rates low.

The Student Education Loan Fund provides low-interest loans to Minnesota students to help bridge the gap between financial aid and the cost of education. The loan has helped more than 250,000 students pay for higher education since it began in 1984, lending out more than $2 billion.

The SELF loan's current fixed interest rate is 6 percent, and the variable interest rate is 4.3 percent. But to keep those rates low, the state must keep defaults down.

The office hired in-house attorney Andrew Wold to file cases in state court. Wold has filed more than 1,000 cases since January 2016, dropping default rates on the loan in his first year.