Smart Borrower Blog

New Grads Have More Debt, Less Opportunities

Oct 27th, 2010 @ 1:11 PM by Amber Nelson

Graduating from college is supposed to be an exciting time, filled with hope about the future and its many possibilities. Unfortunately, that is not the case in general for today’s graduates. A new study by the Project on Student Debt and reported on CNN, says that student debt is rising and the number of grads finding jobs is shrinking.

Students who graduated from college in 2009 from either public or not-for-profit private schools carried an average student loan debt load of $24,000, a 6 percent increase from the previous year.

Perhaps that wouldn’t be a noteworthy change if this were a booming economy, but with unemployment for recent college grads rising to 8.7 percent, a record high, from 5.8 percent in 2008, those higher debts figures will be harder to pay off and could result in more defaults.

With many new grads unable to find work, a separate CNN Money piece reported that 85 percent of 2010 college seniors are planning to move back in with their parents after graduation, according to a poll by Twentysomething, Inc. That’s up from 67 percent in 2006.

So what do we do with this less-than-exciting news? Lauren Asher, president of the group that operates the Project on Student Debt, says students need to be look more carefully at the price tag before choosing a school.

“With student debt rising and jobs hard to come by, it’s more important than ever to shop around when deciding where to go to college. This report shows that debt levels vary widely — not only from state-to-state but also from college-to-college, even when the sticker prices look the same.”

The Project found that the highest debt levels for students were from schools in the Northeast, and lowest debt loads coming out of Western schools. The highest average debt amounts were from D.C. Schools ($30,033) and New Hampshire ($29,443), while the lowest were from Utah ($12,860) and Georgia ($16,568.)

This study included complete information from 1,065 of the 1,913 public and private nonprofit U.S. colleges. It did not include for-profit schools.

About Amber Nelson
Amber Nelson is a seasoned mortgage industry writer and a regular contributor to and

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