Today in discouraging news: the amount of college debt held by recent graduates is on the rise again. Two-thirds of the class of 2011 nationwide held debt on graduating, and on average those students had about $26,600 to take away with them along with their diplomas. However, those numbers don’t even include most graduates of for-profit colleges, who usually borrow a lot more than other students.
The Institute for College Access and Success totted up the most recent figures in a report published today, reports the Associated Press. The rise in amount of debt was up 5% over the previous year, which is quite a bit.
But there’s one bright spot in those figures — even with an unemployment rate of 8.8% in 2011, the people with student loan debt were mostly better off than those with no degree.
“In these tough times, a college degree is still your best bet for getting a job and decent pay,” said TICAS President Lauren Asher. “But, as debt levels rise, fear of loans can prevent students from getting the education they need to succeed. Students and parents need to know that, even at similar looking schools, debt levels can be wildly different. And, if they do need to borrow to get through school, federal student loans, with options like income-based repayment, are the safest way to go.”
Student loan debt is one of the most persistent forms of debt stuck in our nation’s craw right now, with the government estimating that almost 10% of borrowers of federal student loans have already defaulted within two years of starting repayment.
Making this whole thing even more of a bummer is that in other areas where we owe money, consumers have actually lightened the debt load. Just not that pesky student loan debt.
Average debt up again for new college grads [Associated Press]