Where Do Federal Student Loan Dollars Really Go?

The list of schools receiving the largest amount of federal student loan dollars is not dominated by prestigious private universities, or medical or law schools. Find out who is getting the cash.

Where Do Federal Student Loan Dollars Really Go? Photo (cc) by NazarethCollege

Twenty percent of all federal loans given to graduate students during the 2013-2014 school year went to 20 schools — which educated 12 percent of all graduate students, according to a study by the Center for American Progress (CAP).

The study was recently published in the Chronicle of Higher Education. Elizabeth Baylor, CAP’s director of postsecondary education, wrote the Chronicle article titled “As Graduate-Student Debt Booms, Just a Few Colleges Are Largely Responsible.”

The list of the 20 schools that received the largest amount of federal student loan dollars last year is not dominated by prestigious private schools (although several made the list) or by medical or law schools (although two foreign medical schools made the list).

Instead, for-profit colleges doling out degrees in journalism, fine arts or government made the top of the list, according to the study.

Walden University, a for-profit school, topped the list, receiving about $756 million in federal student loan dollars in 2013-2014.

Nova Southeastern University, a private nonprofit, came in second at $532 million. It was followed by the for-profit University of Phoenix, at $493 million.

You can find the full list here.

According to a separate report on college quality that was released by the Brookings Institution in May, the school a student attends offers a good indicator of whether he or she will pay off federal student loan debt.

That report found that alumni of Notre Dame, Saint John’s University, Vassar, Brigham Young, Grinnell College and Palmer College of Chiropractic nearly always pay their federal student loans.

If you’re struggling with student loan debt or know someone who is, be sure to visit the Money Talks News Solutions Center to get help with student loan debt.

How do you feel about so few universities receiving so much of graduate students’ federal loan dollars? Share your thoughts in a comment below or on our Facebook page.

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