Students’ Debt Loads Increase Again

Students in the class of 2011 who took out loans graduated with an average of $26,600 in debt, a 5 percent increase from last year, according to a report released today by the Institute for College Access and Success examining student debt at four-year public and private nonprofit colleges.

The report, which is based on information that colleges report to Peterson’s college guide as part of an annual survey, is among the more complete sources of information on debt for traditional college students. It found that debt had increased in nearly every state, although national trends remained stable from previous years and the amount of debt students take on varies significantly by state.

Debt over all increased $1,350 from last year, and the percentage of students at four-year colleges who took out loans — 66 percent — remained stable, according to the report.

The highest-debt states were New Hampshire, where 75 percent of students borrowed and took on an average of $32,440 in loans, and Pennsylvania and Minnesota, where loans averaged just under $30,000. The University of New Hampshire’s main campus was also among the highest-debt public colleges.

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