Report: Two-thirds of 2011 college graduates finished with debt

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A report released by the Institute of College Access & Success shows nearly two-thirds of 2011 college graduates finished school in debt.

The report shows students who borrowed for college and earned bachelor’s degrees in 2011 graduated with an average $26,600 in student loan debt, up from $25,250 in 2010. This five-percent increase is similar to the average annual increase in recent years.

The report also found private (non-federal) student loans comprised about one-fifth of what they owed.

Additionally, students from the class of 2011 face a tough job market. The unemployment rate for young college graduates was 8.8 percent in 2011, a slight drop from 2010’s record high of 9.1 percent.

Many more young graduates were underemployed, working just part-time or in lower paying jobs that did not require a college education.

Still, college graduates are much better off than those without a college degree. The unemployment rate for young high school graduates was 19.1 percent in 2011, more than double the rate for those with bachelor’s degrees.

Among the report’s main recommendations are for the federal government to provide key information that students and families need to make wise decisions, including the average debt at graduation at all colleges that receive federal funding; to reduce the need to borrow by increasing need-based grant and tax aid; and to curb unnecessary risky borrowing by requiring school certification of all private loans.

CLICK HERE for more on the report via the Institute of College Access & Success website.

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