Yesterday The Institute for College Access & Success (TICAS) issued its Student Debt and the Class of 2010 report. The annual report provides national, state, and institution-level data on the federal student loan burden accumulated by students who graduated in a particular year. As the title indicates, this year’s report looks at those students who graduated in 2010. [These students, it should be noted, would have entered college at least two (and in many cases, more) years before the financial crisis of 2008.]
The report has gotten a lot of attention in outlets like the New York Times, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and others, as it doesn’t paint a particularly promising picture for students and families who continue to accumulate increasing levels of debt to pay for higher education and who are graduating to an uncertain job market. Nationwide, the average debt climbed by 5% over the previous year, to $25,250.
A bright note here in Kentucky is the fact that students at Kentucky institutions are graduating with debt levels significantly lower than the national average. (See for yourself with the interactive map on projectonstudentdebt.org.) Kentucky students borrowed about 30 percent less than the national average.
If you break the data down even further, things look even better for independent college students in Kentucky. As the graphic above shows, students at AIKCU institutions graduated with an average debt of $19,985. Students at Kentucky’s public universities borrowed $21,770 on average. Students from both sectors fare well against the national average of $25,250.
Note: The Project on Student Debt only has loan data for 14/20 AIKCU institutions, while all 8 Kentucky public universities are included. Based on reports from previous years, we don’t anticipate that the missing AIKCU institutions would significantly impact the data (colleges with missing data include Alice Lloyd College, which has historically been recognized as a national leader in the least amount of student debt).
The College Board released the Trends in College Pricing and Trends in Student Aid 2011 reports yesterday, and they’ve gotten quite a bit of attention throughout the higher education world (see coverage in Inside Higher Ed and The Chronicle, and NAICU President David Warren’s statement on the reports here). The Trends reports confirm what many are already painfully aware of: despite colleges’ efforts to control costs, sticker prices continue to rise faster than inflation in all sectors. However, the increases are most acute in the public sector, largely due to the combination of a weak economy and declining state support.
According to the report, published tuition and fees at public 4-year universities increased by an average of 8% nationwide. (In Kentucky, the increases were not as drastic as the Council on Postsecondary Education capped tuition increases at public 4-yr. institutions at 5% for comprehensives and 6% at the research institutions.) Nationally, private nonprofit college and university tuitions and fees increased by 4.5%, while AIKCU institutions’ sticker prices rose by 4.7%.
The College Board takes great care to explain that most students do not pay these published sticker prices, and the Trends in Student Aidreport details the increasingly important role that student financial aid, in all its forms, plays in helping students and families afford a postsecondary education. At AIKCU institutions, nearly 100% of students receive some form of financial aid.
Kentucky’s independent colleges continue to try and mitigate the effects on students and their families by increasing the institutional resources they dedicate to student financial aid. The most recent data we have from the National Center for Education Statistics (from fiscal 2009) indicates that AIKCU institutions discount tuition by 39% on average, providing their students with more than $180 million in financial aid.
And as the graphic below indicates, AIKCU’s average tuition remains significantly lower than the national and southern regional averages.
Trends in College Pricing 2011
Trends in Student Aid 2011
A Shifting Burden (Inside Higher Ed)
Rise in Sticker Price at Public Colleges Outpaces That at Private Colleges for 5th Year in a Row (The Chronicle of Higher Education)
NAICU statement on Trends in College Pricing and Student Aid Reports
Enrollment at Kentucky’s independent colleges and universities continues to rise, according to recent data from the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education.
The estimated combined total fall headcount enrollment for AIKCU’s 20 member institutions is 35,878. Undergraduate enrollment at AIKCU institutions is up 4 percent over the fall of 2010, and graduate enrollment increased by 7 percent. Total enrollment in the independent sector increased by 45 percent over the last 10 years.
The continued upward trend in independent college enrollment indicates that even in this tight economy, students still find great value in Kentucky’s nonprofit private colleges and universities.
Statewide, CPE reported Kentucky’s total postsecondary enrollment grew 2 percent over fall 2010. Undergraduate enrollment at Kentucky’s public universities grew by 1 percent. Official fall enrollment numbers will be available from CPE in the spring of 2012.