Data from 2015 shows 68% of seniors who graduated from public and nonprofit colleges in 2015 had student loan debt. The Institute for College Access and Success (TICAS) says that those grads have, on average, $30,100 in loans. This is a rise of 4 percent compared with 2014. The numbers may be skewed lower because many for-profit colleges don't report financial data, despite several students taking out financial aid.
Laura Asher, president of TICAS, said, "Overall, there's been a tremendous increase in the number of graduates with student debt compared to the previous generation". Under half of graduates completing a four-year course in 1993 had loans. This figure has risen to 68 percent for 2015.
The main problem is that college fees continue to soar, and have now outstripped family income. Last year, for example, the average cost for private colleges was $26,400. This equates to almost 50 percent of the average family's income. Meanwhile, public college fees have risen to $14,120 - around 25 percent of income.
"It's still much too hard for students to figure out what college is going to cost them," Asher explains. The cost varies by state too, with graduates in Utah having the least amount of debt, at $18,873. Those in New Hampshire see average college loans amounting to $36,101.
The high number of loans means that students must organize their personal finance if they are to juggle repayments and living costs when their studies are complete.
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