Average student loan debt for four-year degree up to $29,400

McClatchy Washington BureauDecember 4, 2013 

Average student loan debt is now up to $29,400.

That’s the national average for college graduates in 2012 who borrowed money for bachelor’s degrees, according to a new study today by The Institute for College Access and Success.

The report also shows average debt load by state. Read it here.

The study finds that 71 percent of college seniors who graduated last year had student loan debt. One-fifth of their debt was in private loans rather than federal loans. Private loans have fewer consumer protections and don’t have repayment options based on income.

Student loan debt has been going up every year in recent years.

The House and Senate have held multiple hearings about the cost of college. The latest, on Tuesday, chaired by Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., looked into possible changes to Pell grants, the federal grants that go mostly to people in families with incomes of $30,000 or less.

The maximum annual Pell grant today of $5,635 covers only 36 percent of the cost of a public four-year institution, according to the National Association of Student Aid Administrators.

Another report released today looks at spending on athletics as compared to academics at 220 NCAA Division I schools. The Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics created the user-friendly database to show comparisons in spending by league and institution. The numbers show that athletic spending per athlete grew faster than academic spending per student.

The Knight Commission warned in a 2010 report that spending trends in sports were not sustainable for most Division I schools.

William E. "Brit" Kirwan, chancellor of the University System of Maryland and co-chairman of the commission, said in a news release: "We already see levels of spending at some universities that require them to divert substantial resources from their core academic responsibilities. We are hopeful this online database will help university leaders and policymakers develop practices and policies that bring better balance to athletic expenditures within the broader institutional missions."


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