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Student Debt, Graduates of 2014-15

by Tod Massa 17. March 2016 12:07

 

The Graduate Debt reports have been released with the addition of the graduates of 2014-15. There have been no changes to format, structure, or underlying assumptions. I think the news is basically good. The increases are relatively minor, but represent a seemingly inexorable tide of students completing college with a reliance on student loans at all degree levels. I remain concerned that more women borrow and borrow more than men, and that an even larger percentage of women of color borrow and borrow more than other groups. As we look to the demographic make-up of future entering cohorts of college students, we expect more women and students of color to continue to enroll. These are the groups that can be most negatively affected by student debt, but they will likely be better off with student debt and a degree than not.

At the institution-level, users should not be surprised to see multiple years of a median debt of $27,000.  Federal loan limits for dependent students amount to $27,000 for students completing in four years ($5,500+$6,500+$7,500+$7,500) and thus this will be a common amount for very traditional students and fewer transfer students.

  

Bachelor’s Degrees

Statewide

The median debt of the graduates of 2014-15, is $26,974, and the mean debt is $29,267, with 63% of grads borrowing.

The median education debt of graduates at this level of Grand Total, All reporting Institutions has increased by $10,172 or 61% over the 10-year time period between 2005-06 and 2014-15. The number of graduates with student debt has increased by 12,006 (58%) and the average debt has increased by $11,260 (63%).

Parental borrowing (PLUS Loans) supported 7,708 students (15%), with a median debt of $24,683 and mean debt of $33,525. 25% of parent borrowers incurred PLUS debt of $49,544 or greater.

More women (19,840, 65%) borrow and borrow more ($27,000 median) than men (13,336, 59%) who borrow less ($26,782).

More in-state students (23,384, 64%) borrow but borrow slightly less ($26,775 median) than out-of-state students (9,450, 60%) who borrowed $27,000 at the median.

Students of Color are more likely than majority students to borrow 68% (10,884) compared to 60% (21,950), and they borrow a bit more $28,000 compared to $26,754 at the medians.

 The largest percentage of borrowers is women of color, 71% (6,700) of which borrow $28,641 at the median, which is higher than all other groups. 

 

Public Institutions

The median debt of the graduates of 2014-15, is $26,752, and the mean debt is $27,858, with 59% of grads borrowing.

The median education debt of graduates at this level of Total Public Institutions has increased by $10,252 or 62% over the 10-year time period between 2005-06 and 2014-15. The number of graduates with student debt has increased by 6,477 (43%) and the average debt has increased by $10,443 (60%).

With 37% of graduates having no debt, and 56% having debt less than $50,000, less than 7% or 3,523 borrowers had student loans greater than $50,000. Only 237 borrowers had student debt greater than $100,000.

Parental borrowing (PLUS Loans) supported 5,187 students (14%), with a median debt of $21,561 and mean debt of $30,826. 25% of parent borrowers incurred PLUS debt of $45,645 or greater.

In programs with 100 more graduates statewide over the last five years, student borrowers had a range of borrowing. The 10 four-year bachelor’s programs which had the highest median debt:

 

Computer Engineering Technology/Technician(15.1201)

$37,525

Communication, Journalism, and Related Programs, Other(09.9999)

$31,000

Family and Consumer Economics and Related Services, Other(19.0499)

$30,686

Dental Hygiene/Hygienist(51.0602)

$30,500

Forensic Science and Technology(43.0106)

$29,125

Radiologic Technology/Science - Radiographer(51.0911)

$29,000

Management Information Systems, General(52.1201)

$28,262

Aerospace, Aeronautical and Astronautical/Space Engineering(14.0201)

$28,027

Interior Design(50.0408)

$28,000

Mining and Mineral Engineering(14.2101)

$28,000

 

The 10 four-year bachelor’s programs which had the lowest median debt:

Science, Technology and Society(30.1501)

$21,266

Management Sciences and Quantitative Methods, Other(52.1399)

$20,946

Professional, Technical, Business, and Scientific Writing(23.1303)

$20,885

Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution(30.0501)

$20,831

Social Sciences, General(45.0101)

$20,810

Criminal Justice/Police Science(43.0107)

$20,681

Advanced Legal Research/Studies, General(22.0201)

$20,450

Spanish Language and Literature(16.0905)

$20,351

Environmental Science(03.0104)

$20,318

Information Technology(11.0103)

$20,052

 

 

Private, Non-profit

The median debt of the graduates of 2014-15, is $27,907, and the mean debt is $31,778, with 72% of grads borrowing.

The median education debt of graduates at this level of Total Private, Non-profit, Four-year Institutions has increased by $10,782 or 63% over the 10-year time period between 2005-06 and 2014-15. The number of graduates with student debt has increased by 5,529 (97%) and the average debt has increased by $12,471 (65%).

With 28% of graduates having no debt and 62% having debt less than $50,000, less than 10%, or 1,510, borrowers had student loans greater than $50,000. Only 82 borrowers had student debt greater than $100,000.

Parental borrowing (PLUS Loans) supported 2,521 students (16%), with a median debt of $31,181 and mean debt of $39,078. 25% of parent borrowers incurred PLUS debt of $57,800 or greater.

 

Associate's Degree (Occupational/Technical Credit) – Public  Institutions

The median debt of the graduates of 2014-15, is $13,956, and the mean debt is $17,366, with 41% of grads borrowing.

The median education debt of graduates at this level of Total Public Institutions has increased by $7,153 or 105% over the 10-year time period between 2005-06 and 2014-15. The number of graduates with student debt has increased by 1,504 (165%) and the average debt has increased by $8,538 (97%).

 

Associate's Degree (Bachelor Credit) Public  Institutions

The median debt of the graduates of 2014-15, is $10,392 , and the mean debt is $13,211, with  37% of grads borrowing.

The median education debt of graduates at this level of Total Public Institutions has increased by $5,778 or 125% over the 10-year time period between 2005-06 and 2014-15. The number of graduates with student debt has increased by 3,663 (380%) and the average debt has increased by $7,053 (115%).

 

Professional Degrees (MD, JD, etc)

Statewide, median debt for 2,476 (76%) graduates is $116,831, mean $122,309, with 25% borrowing more than $174,420.

(Includes undergraduate debt incurred in Virginia.)

Master’s Degrees

Statewide, median debt for 11,281 (53%) graduates is $37,613, mean $41,541, with 25% borrowing more than $52,283.

(Includes undergraduate debt incurred in Virginia.)

 

Doctor’s Degrees

Statewide, median debt for 1,202 (44%) graduates is $56,270, mean $61,862, with 25% borrowing more than $84,052.

 (Includes undergraduate debt incurred in Virginia.)


All Graduate Debt Links:

The student debt figures are derived from SCHEV’s student unit record financial aid data files (FADF) reported to SCHEV by Virginia’s public and private-not-for profit institutions. 

Loans that were not processed by the institution and loans received outside of Virginia are not included in the accumulated debt totals. 

Loans were grouped and summarized into three debt categories - student loans (federal, private, institutional, excluding PLUS loans); PLUS (Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students, and PLUS Grad loans for graduate/first professional students); and total loans as combined PLUS and student loans aggregated by student, institution, reporting year, term and student level. 

The summarized loans were then accumulated by student, reporting year, term and student level group (e.g. undergraduate, graduate and first professional). Reported debt totals represent cumulative totals by level at the time of award. This means that the loan amounts for a student transferring prior to completing a bachelor's degree will include loans incurred at all institutions prior to the award. Likewise, for a student completing multiple graduate degrees, such as master degree followed by doctorate, the loan amounts for the most recent degree will include those for the previous graduate degree.

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