This Type of Debt Is Up 56 Percent in a Decade

Photo (cc) by Michael Fleshman

The average student loan debt for a graduate of a four-year public or private college in the United States shot up 56 percent between 2004 and 2014.

That’s according to the 10th annual report on student debt from the Institute for College Access & Success (TICAS), a California-based nonprofit. The report found that while the share of grads with student debt rose from 65 percent (2004) to 69 percent (2014), college grads in 2014 had an average debt of $28,950, compared with $18,550 for 2004’s college grads, which was more than double or triple the rate of inflation in most states.

“Borrowers are graduating with a lot more debt than they did 10 years ago, and the class of 2014’s average debt is the highest yet,” said TICAS President Lauren Asher in a statement. “Student debt has rightly become a major policy issue. Students and families need better information and better policies to make college more affordable and debt less burdensome.”

Sadly, the student loan debt burden would likely be even higher if the report had factored in for-profit colleges, where students are not only more likely to take on student loans, but they also carry about 43 percent more debt on average. The report also doesn’t factor in loan figures for students who took on debt but didn’t graduate.

TICAS said the shift in college funding from states to students has placed “increasingly heavy burdens on students and families.”

“Between 2004 and 2014, [the report notes] the share of funding states provide to public colleges dropped from 62 percent to 51 percent, and during the same period, the share of tuition colleges have asked families to pay grew from 32 percent to 43 percent,” MarketWatch said.

But before you write off college as too expensive, hear this: On average, college grads experience less unemployment and earn more money than their high-school-educated peers. So yes, college is still worth the investment, as long as you graduate.

“Despite rising debt levels, a college degree is still the best path to a job and decent pay,” said Debbie Cochrane, TICAS research director, in a statement. “[But] for students who don’t graduate, loans are much harder to repay. Even a small amount of debt can be burdensome if you have limited job options.”

The report found that high student debt states are mainly concentrated in the Northeast and Midwest – Delaware, New Hampshire, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and Pennsylvania – while low-debt states are mainly located in the West – Utah, New Mexico, Nevada, California and Arizona.

What do you think of the explosive growth in student loan debt? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
These 5 Laptops Have the Best Battery Life
These 5 Laptops Have the Best Battery Life

Need a laptop that runs as long as you do? Check out these models.

12 Things Everyone Should Stop Buying This Year
12 Things Everyone Should Stop Buying This Year

These convenient household products come with hidden costs that you might not have considered.

8 Surefire Ways to Get Rid of Debt ASAP
8 Surefire Ways to Get Rid of Debt ASAP

Here’s how to painlessly speed up your debt-reduction efforts.

How to Invest in Real Estate for as Little as $500
How to Invest in Real Estate for as Little as $500

If stock market volatility has you looking for other investment options, here’s a way to diversify — even if you don’t have tons of money.

17 Unusual Things You Can Clean in a Dishwasher
17 Unusual Things You Can Clean in a Dishwasher

Many everyday items do not require meticulous hand washing.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco
11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco

This leader in bulk shopping is a great place to find discounts in the fixed-income years.

Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines
Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines

Fall is the time to schedule vaccines that can keep you healthy — and even save your life.

11 Senior Discounts for Anyone Age 55 or Older
11 Senior Discounts for Anyone Age 55 or Older

There is no need to wait until you’re 65 to take advantage of so-called “senior” discounts.

11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous
11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous

When you get the impulse to stockpile these everyday items, pay close attention to their expiration dates.

8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies
8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies

In this age of higher-priced drugs and complex health care systems, a trip to the pharmacy can spark worry. Freebies sure do help.

7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast
7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast

Your financial security might soon depend upon the strength of your credit score.

These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020
These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020

Medicare Advantage customers themselves rate these plans highest.

The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America
The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America

A new model parks atop the list of vehicles that thieves love to pilfer.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

These jobs pay more than the typical job in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required.

The 15 Worst States for Retirees in 2020
The 15 Worst States for Retirees in 2020

Based on dozens of metrics tied to affordability, quality of life and health care, these are not ideal places to spend retirement.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

9 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday
9 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday

These items are all steeply discounted — but the deals won’t last long.

10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62
10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62

If you can, here are several good reasons to retire earlier than we’re told to.

26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income
26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income

These states won’t tax any of your Social Security income — and in some cases, other types of retirement income.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles
5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles

Pushing your car to 200,000 miles — and beyond — can save you piles of cash. Here’s how to get there.

5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees
5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees

Retirees agree: These are the things that give them purpose and fulfillment in their golden years.

14 Things That Are ‘Free’ With Medicare
14 Things That Are ‘Free’ With Medicare

These services could save you money and help prevent costly health problems.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.