The average student loan debt of students nationwide who graduated from four-year colleges and universities has increased to $29,400 and 71% of graduates had debt, according to the latest report from the Project on Student Debt at the Institute for College Access and Success (TICAS).
Student Debt and the Class of 2012 includes national data for both federal and private student loans and state and institution-level data for public and nonprofit private institutions that voluntarily provide data. The Project on Student Debt notes that while for-profit colleges are included in the national average, they are not included in state figures because virtually none voluntarily provide student debt information.
In Kentucky, the average student debt of $22,384 was 31% lower than the national average; 62% of Kentucky graduates had student debt. Among the AIKCU institutions included in the report, the average debt was $22,380. The average debt of Kentucky public university graduates in the report was $24,625. A higher overall average percentage of AIKCU graduates (70%) than public university graduates (57%) borrow.
The Project on Student Debt lists institutional level data for 12 of 20 AIKCU members and 7 of 8 Kentucky public four-year universities. Berea College and Campbellsville University are highlighted in the report as being among the colleges with the lowest average student debt nationally.
Despite the headlines about increasing college debt levels and the serious challenges facing students and families, graduates of both nonprofit private colleges and public universities in Kentucky have significantly lower debt than the national average. Kentucky is 9th on the list of “low-debt states,” and 30% of Kentucky private college graduates and 43% of public university graduates finished with no debt at all.