Seven in 10 college students graduate with loan debt
Average student loan debt surpasses $29,000 on average
There was a time in America when graduating from college meant freedom and unlimited vistas. A sheepskin in the hand was the ticket to new challenges and rewarding careers. That's not true for seven out of 10 college students, who now are burdened with student loan debt to the tune of $29,000 - which is more than someone's annual income just starting out.
An independent analysis of federal data has revealed that more than 70 percent of college graduates in 2012 had student loans.
The Institute for College Access and Success reports that 71 percent of the class of 2012 had debt at graduation, up from 68 percent for the class of 2008. In addition, the average debt of $29,400 was up from $23,450 in 2008, indicating that for many students, public and private grants are not keeping pace with rising tuition.
"This new analysis provides a wake-up call for federal lawmakers to take a closer look at the impact of student debt on our recovering economy," Rep. George Miller of California, the ranking Democrat on the House Education and the Workforce Committee said.
"With more students borrowing more money than ever before, a generation of young adults will be forced to put important life decisions like buying a home on hold while they pay back their loans, constraining their ability to contribute to a robust economic rebound."
Included in the data was loan figures voluntarily reported by about 1,000 colleges.
Not including loans from parents and other relatives, figures listed 20 "low debt" colleges and universities. Among them were Hampton University in Virginia, with average debt of $9,597, and Gallaudet and Howard universities in the District, with average debt of $10,347 and $10,136, respectively.
Several public and private colleges were described as "high debt" institutions; One in Maryland was Morgan State University, with an average student debt of $36,086, and one in Virginia was Regent University, with average debt of $45,326.
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