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ERIC Number: ED537338
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Oct
Pages: 32
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
Student Debt and the Class of 2011
Reed, Matthew; Cochrane, Debbie
Project on Student Debt
Student Debt and the Class of 2011 is the seventh annual report on the cumulative student loan debt of recent graduates from four-year public and private nonprofit colleges. The authors' analysis found that the debt levels of students who graduate with loans continued to rise, with considerable variation among states as well as among colleges. The authors estimate that two-thirds (66%) of college seniors who graduated in 2011 had student loan debt, with an average of $26,600 for those with loans. The five percent increase in average debt at the national level is similar to the average annual increase over the past few years. Also similar to previous years, about one-fifth of graduates' debt is comprised of private loans. State averages for debt at graduation from four-year colleges ranged widely in 2011, from $17,250 to $32,450. High-debt states remain concentrated in the Northeast and Midwest, with low-debt states mainly in the West and South. Many factors influence student debt levels for each graduating class and the rate of increase over time, such as changes in college costs, family resources, and need-based grant aid. Most students in the Class of 2011 started college before the recent economic downturn, but the economy soured while they were in school, widening the gap between rising college costs and what students and their parents could afford. State budget cuts led to sharp tuition increases at some public colleges, increasing the need to borrow. On the other hand, federal need-based grant aid increased while the Class of 2011 was in college, with an especially large Pell Grant increase in 2009-10. Recommendations to address rising student debt are offered. Appended are: (1) Methodology: Where the Numbers Come From and How We Use Them; and (2) The Institute for College Access & Success' National Policy Agenda to Reduce the Burden of Student Debt. (Contains 6 tables and 44 footnotes.)
Project on Student Debt. Available from Institute for College Access & Success, 405 14th Street 11th Floor, Oakland, CA 94612. Tel: 5110-559-9509; Fax: 510-845-4112; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Institute for College Access & Success, Project on Student Debt