Nearly $27,000. No, that’s not your latest salary offer ‘” it’s the average student loan debt for last year, up 5 percent from 2010, a new report reveals.
According to data from the Institute for College Access & Success’ Project on Student Debt, two-thirds of college seniors who graduated in 2011 owed $26,600, the highest level of debt in the seven years the report has been published, CNN reports. Meanwhile, unemployment for recent college graduates that year also was high, at 8.8 percent.
The drivers? Not surprisingly, rising tuition and a dismal job market.
“In these tough times, a college degree is still your best bet for getting a job and decent pay,” TICAS president Lauren Asher tells CNN. “But, as debt levels rise, fear of loans can prevent students from getting the education they need to succeed.”
Maybe, but the report also found that the one thing likely keeping student debt loans from growing even larger is increased federal financial aid.
To be honest, our first reaction was that owing nearly $27,000 after four years of college seemed low. We certainly know friends and family who ‘” before heading off to graduate or law school ‘” owed at least $10,000-$20,000 more.
Chalk it up to expensive scholarly tastes. Regardless, it’s a clear, sad fact for many that a new “grown-up” life begins shouldered with tens of thousands of dollars in debt.
Do you think owing $26,600 is outrageous or below average? Tell us in the comments section.
Photo courtesy of Classy Girls Wear Pearls