Students participate in commencement exercises. SOURCE: AP/Brad Doherty
Washington, D.C. —(ENEWSPF)–June 26, 2015. A new analysis from the Center for American Progress that contrasts student loan debt with college completion rates in all 50 states and the District of Columbia found that the average debt of student borrowers can often be misleading because in some states, small debt burdens for borrowers look much worse given low levels of postsecondary attainment. In other states, CAP’s analysis finds a high average debt for borrowers may not be as concerning because so many residents are earning postsecondary degrees.
“While there has been a lot of attention paid—and rightly so—to the enormous student debt problem in the United States, not all loans are inherently bad. It’s important to look at student loans in the context of college completion, especially since borrowers who earn degrees are far less likely to default on their loans than borrowers who drop out,” said Ben Miller, Senior Director for Postsecondary Education at CAP.
CAP found that some states and territories, such as the District of Columbia and Virginia, have average debt per borrower rates that exceed the national average but also have high attainment rates that outstrip other states in the nation. Maryland, Vermont, Florida, and Colorado also fit into this category. Alternatively, states such as Louisiana, Mississippi, Ohio, Indiana, and Arkansas present the opposite scenario: low levels of debt among borrowers but low attainment rates as well.
As part of the analysis, CAP generated a sortable Excel file comparing debt per borrower with debt per college graduate in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Click here to see the file.
Read “The Relationship Between Student Debt and College Completion” by Ben Miller.