College & Workforce Readiness

Debt for College Grads Averages $25K; Unemployment Climbs

By Caralee J. Adams — November 03, 2011 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The latest numbers are out today from the Project on Student Debt at the Institute for College Access & Success, and they’re not encouraging.

Along with their degrees, two-thirds of seniors left college owing an average of $25,250 in student loans—5 percent more than a year ago. Unemployment for the class of 2010 was 9.1 percent, up from 8.7 percent in last year’s report. Discouraging, but better than the unemployment rate of 20.4 percent for young adults with only a high school diploma.

Debt levels by state
show graduates form the Northeast and Midwest had the highest average debt, likely because of the concentration of private, nonprofit colleges in those areas. Students in New Hampshire had the highest average debt of $31,048, followed by Maine at $29,983 and Iowa at $29,058. That contrasts with the West, where students borrowed the least and the average debts were $15,509 in Utah, $15,550 in Hawaii, and $16,399 in New Mexico. The report also highlights specific high-debt private nonprofit and public colleges.

The Project on Student Debt wrote about the risk of private loans this summer, and today’s report includes data for the first time on this growing sector of the student-loan market. Nearly one-third of college graduates took out a private loan to finance their education, and the average amount is $12,550. Private loans made up 22 percent of all student-loan debt for the class of 2010.

Unlike federal loans, private loans typically have uncapped variable interest rates and don’t have the same consumer protection such as income-based repayment and loan forgiveness. (Last week, President Obama accelerated the improved terms of student-loan repayment.) The majority of undergraduates who take out private loans have not maxed out the safer federal student-loan option, according to The Project on Student Debt.

This report does not include borrowing patterns for students at for-profit institutions, because few release the data. Information provided to the federal government shows that 96 percent of graduates from for-profit schools have student-loan debt. The report does note that 64 percent of students at for-profits had a private loan.

How can the country turn around the increasing reliance on student borrowing for higher education? The Project on Student Debt recommends increasing access to need-based student aid, requiring schools to certify or sign off on private loans to make sure students are taking them out only when necessary, and expanding the collection of student-debt data to better track trends beyond first-time, full-time students.

Related Tags:

A version of this news article first appeared in the College Bound blog.


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Ensuring Continuity of Learning: How to Prepare for the Next Disruption
Across the country, K-12 schools and districts are, again, considering how to ensure effective continuity of learning in the face of emerging COVID variants, politicized debates, and more. Learn from Alexandria City Public Schools superintendent
Content provided by Class
Teaching Profession Live Online Discussion What Have We Learned From Teachers During the Pandemic?
University of California, Santa Cruz, researcher Lora Bartlett and her colleagues spent months studying how the pandemic affected classroom teachers. We will discuss the takeaways from her research not only for teachers, but also for

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

College & Workforce Readiness Opinion Can College-Going Be Less Risky Without Being 'Free'?
Rick Hess speaks with Peter Samuelson, president of Ardeo Education Solutions, about Ardeo's approach to make paying for college less risky.
5 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
College & Workforce Readiness Opinion What Will It Take to Get High School Students Back on Track?
Three proven strategies can support high school graduation and postsecondary success—during and after the pandemic.
Robert Balfanz
5 min read
Conceptual illustration of students making choices based on guidance.
Viktoria Kurpas/iStock
College & Workforce Readiness Opinion An Economist Explains How to Make College Pay
Rick Hess speaks with Beth Akers about practical advice regarding how to choose a college, what to study, and how to pay for it.
6 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
College & Workforce Readiness What the Research Says College Enrollment Dip Hits Students of Color the Hardest
The pandemic led to a precipitous decline in enrollment for two-year schools, while four-year colleges and universities held steady.
3 min read
Conceptual image of blocks moving forward, and one moving backward.
Marchmeena29/iStock/Getty