Smart Borrower Blog

Average Student Loan Debt Hits All-time High

Oct 19th, 2016 @ 12:34 PM by Amber Nelson

Last year, U.S. college graduates finished school with the highest average student loan debt to date, according to a new report from The Institute of College Access and Success and it is very likely the class of 2016 will have an even higher load.

The class of 2015 had an average undergraduate borrower debt of $30,100, a 4 percent increase from the average loan debts from the class of 2014. The report also suggests that the true average is much higher because it did not take in account any students from for-profit colleges. Most for-profit schools do not report student debt but the majority of their students do borrow money.

Not only is the average student loan debt rising, but the percentage of graduates with debt is growing. The report showed that back in 1993 less than half of four-year graduates left school with student loans. In 2015, 68 percent finished school with some debt.

“Overall, there’s been a tremendous increase in the number of graduates with student debt compared to the previous generation,” said Lauren Asher, the president of TICAS.

Debt load varies widely by state. Students from New Hampshire leave school with the highest loan debt in the nation with an average of $36,101, followed by Pennsylvania grads with an average of $34,798 and Connecticut students with $34,773.

The states with the lowest average college grad loan debts started with Utah at $18,873, then New Mexico with an average of $20,193 and California at $22,191.

A main reason for the increase in loan debt is the rising cost of tuition. College costs have jumped significantly over the past ten years. The report found that the average yearly cost of attending a private university is now $26,400 while public college now costs a yearly average of $14,120.

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

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