New College Grads: Student Debt Double Whammy


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By Consumers Union on Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

Last month, Consumers Union’s published a report featuring stories from student loan borrowers and their struggles. We can tell you that the news is not good for recent college graduates who face economic challenges to repay their student loan debt.  High debt loads, coupled with bleak job prospects, equals an economic double whammy that hobbles graduates’ ability to fully participate in the economic mainstream.

Today, the Institute for College Access & Success (TICAS) released a new report on the state of student debt for the college graduating class of 2012, which adds important information for underscoring the gravity of the $1 Trillion student debt crisis and the need for reform.

Among TICAS findings:

  • Seven in 10 (71%) of college graduates in 2012 had student loan debt with an average of $29,400 per borrower.  These figures represent student loan debts owed by students who graduated from public colleges and non-profit private colleges.
  • Debt load for graduates has grown quickly over the years.  From 2008 to 2012, student loan debt at graduation (federal and private loans combined) increased an average of 6% per year.
  • Student debt load varies greatly by college and region.  High debt colleges are concentrated in the Northeast.
  • High debt states include New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Maine, Minnesota and Ohio.  Delaware colleges had the highest debt per borrower at $34,000.
  • Low debt states include Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, California, Arizona and Louisiana.

To address the student debt epidemic, TICAS recommends collecting more comprehensive college-level data to assess the degree of debt incurred at all colleges, public, private non-profit, and for-profit, reducing the need to borrow, improving consumer information, strengthening college accountability, and protecting private loan borrowers.   Consumers Union agrees with these recommendations.  See our Seven Principles for Fair Student Lending and advice on how to graduate with less student debt.

Are you struggling with student loan debt?  Tell us your story.

One response to “New College Grads: Student Debt Double Whammy”

  1. Webster says:

    I have attended three institutions of higher learning – one prestigious private, one public flagship, and one community college. The only one where students regularly took vacations was the private school – trips funded by mom and dad, of course, not the almighty taxpayer. At the community college, most students were commuting to class after working full-time jobs.

    A close family member is a professor. While he has complained about many aspects of the modern student, jetsetting loan recipients has never been one of them.

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