October 23, 2012

Student-Loan Borrowers Average $26,500 in Debt

The average student-loan debt of borrowers in the college class of 2011 rose to about $26,500, a 5 percent increase from about $25,350 the previous year, according to a report by the Institute for College Access and Success’s Project on Student Debt.

Rising College Costs Pose Test for Obama on Education Policies (October 18, 2012)
Well-Off Will Benefit Most From Change to Student Debt Relief Plan, Study Says (October 16, 2012)
The project said that about two-thirds of those who earned bachelor’s degrees last year had loans. About one-fifth of the debt was from private student loans, which have fewer consumer protections and repayment options than federal loans.

Although federal data show that graduates of for-profit colleges are far more likely to borrow, and borrow more, than those who attend other types of colleges, the report’s findings focus only on public and nonprofit colleges, because only nine for-profit colleges (less than 2 percent) reported the necessary figures.

Over all, this year’s report, the institute’s seventh, was based on responses from 55 percent of the institutions surveyed. But many colleges, including a quarter of those singled out for high debt levels in the previous report, did not report their debt figures for the class of 2011.

The College Board’s debt estimates, based on a different survey, will not be released until next week, but Sandra Baum, the economist who writes that report, said they would be slightly lower than the figures in the Project on Student Debt report.

The project’s report stresses the need for the federal government to gather and disseminate information on every college’s average debt at graduation.

“Voluntarily reported data is all that we’ve got to shed light on how debt at graduation varies from school to school and year to year,” said Matthew Reed, the primary author of the report. “Twelve percent of the colleges that reported debt data for 2010 didn’t report for 2011, and virtually no for-profit colleges reported at all.”

“The need for federal collection of key debt information at all colleges could not be more clear,” Mr. Reed added.

While a college degree remains the likeliest route to employment and good wages, Lauren Asher, who heads the student-debt project, said that at a time of rising tuition and low employment rates for young people, fear of debt might stop some students from getting the education they needed. Better consumer information could help address that problem, she said.

Average debt varied widely from college to college, as did the share of students graduating with loans. Of those that reported their data and had more than 100 graduates, Lawrence Technological University, in Michigan, had the highest average debt: $46,677, with 74 percent of graduates having borrowed. York College, part of the public City University of New York, had the lowest: $2,996, with 24 percent of graduates having borrowed.

There were 64 colleges where more than 90 percent of graduates had debt.

Average debt at graduation also varied from state to state, from a high of $32,450 in New Hampshire to a low of $17,227 in Utah.

As in previous years, the high-debt states were concentrated in the Northeast and the Midwest, and low-debt states in the West and the South.

The above statements do not represent those of Weston Legal or Michael Weston and they have not been reviewed for accuracy. The statements have been published by a third party and are being linked to by our website only because they contain information relating to debt. Nothing in this article should be construed as legal advice given by Weston Legal or Michael Weston. To view the source of the article, please following the link to the website that published the article. Articles written by Michael W. Weston can be viewed here: To report any problem with this article please email

Weston Legal provides Student Loan Lawsuit Defense in all cities of Texas including:


Fill out my online form.




Read more Testimonials »



Contact Us