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ERIC Number: ED515403
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Oct
Pages: 13
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
Student Debt and the Class of 2009
Cheng, Diane; Reed, Matthew
Institute for College Access & Success
This paper is the fifth annual report on the cumulative student loan debt of recent graduates from public and private nonprofit colleges. This analysis of the latest available data found that the debt levels of students who graduate with loans continued to rise, with considerable variation among states as well as among colleges. This report estimates that college seniors who graduated in 2009 carried an average of $24,000 in student loan debt, up six percent from the previous year. The six percent increase in average debt at the national level is similar to the average annual increase over the past four years, despite the recent economic downturn. It is likely that the Class of 2009 took out the bulk of their student loans before the recession began. Additionally, many colleges made concerted efforts to increase or maintain need-based grant aid when the economy faltered, so that students could afford to stay in school. State averages for debt at graduation from four-year colleges ranged widely in 2009, from $13,000 to $30,000. As in previous years, high-debt states are concentrated in the Northeast, while low-debt states are mainly in the West. Average debt continued to vary even more at the campus level than at the state level, from $3,000 to $61,500. Colleges with higher tuition tend to have higher average debt, but there are many examples of high tuition and low average debt and vice versa. In the current economic climate, recent college graduates who borrowed for their education face unique challenges in paying back their student loans. The unemployment rate for young college graduates rose from 5.8 percent in 2008 to 8.7 percent in 2009, the highest annual rate on record. Given the growing enrollment in and attention to for-profit colleges, it is important to note that this report reflects only graduates of public and private nonprofit four-year colleges because so few for-profit colleges report student debt data. However, based on national surveys conducted by the U.S. Department of Education, it is known that on average, graduates of for-profit four-year colleges are much more likely to borrow student loans and borrow significantly more than their counterparts at public and private nonprofit colleges. (Contains 25 footnotes.) [For "Student Debt and the Class of 2008", see ED509357.]
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Publication Type: Numerical/Quantitative Data; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Institute for College Access & Success