Student Loan Debt for 2011 Increases 5%

The average student loan debt for Class of 2011 college graduates increased 5%, according to a report released by The Institute for College Access & Success (TICAS), an independent, nonprofit organization that works to make college education more affordable for people of all backgrounds.

Student Debt and the Class of 2011, the seventh annual report on cumulative loan debt of recent graduates from four-year public and private nonprofit colleges, finds that 66% of college seniors graduating in 2011 had student loan debt—the average debt being $26,600. For-profit colleges were not included in this report.

The report also finds that average debt varies among states, with high-debt states primarily in the Northeast and Midwest and low-debt states primarily in the West and South. This data is consistent with that of previous years.

Additionally, the report identified different factors that can affect student debt levels, which include varying tuition and fees, local living expenses, demographic makeup of the graduating class, availability of need-based aid from colleges and states, and colleges’ financial aid policies and practices. Debt also varies from college to college, averaging anywhere from $3,000 to $55,250. The number of graduates with debt ranges from 12% to 100%.

About one-fifth of graduates’ debt is comprised of private loans, similar to previous years.

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