Students borrowers now average over $26,000 in debt, study finds

by Emma Nelson

Of students who graduated from college in 2011, 66 percent graduated with student loan debt and averaged a total of $26,600, according to a recent report by the Institute for College Access and Success.

Average loan debt varied by state, with higher-debt states concentrated in the Northeast and Midwest.

Minnesota was ranked third-highest in terms of debt amount, with the average student owing $29,793. According to the report, 71 percent of Minnesota students were in debt upon graduating.

The report showed data from both private and public colleges. The only Minnesota reported in the "high-debt" range was the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.

For-profit colleges were not included in the report because only 2 percent submitted the necessary data, the New York Times reported. Federal data show that students who graduate from for-profit colleges accumulate more debt than graduates from other non-profit institutions.

“Voluntarily reported data is all that we’ve got to shed light on how debt at graduation varies from school to school and year to year,” said Matthew Reed, the report's primary author. “The need for federal collection of key debt information at all colleges could not be more clear."

The College Board will release its own report on student loan debt will be released next week, according to the New York Times. Sandra Baum, the writer of the report, said their estimates are slightly lower than those reported by the Institute for College Access and Success.