Average Student Debt Hits Record High in 2010: $25,250

Average Student Debt Hits Record High in 2010: $25,250 A report released on Thursday by the Institute for College Access & Success's Project on Student Debt shows that members of the class of 2010 who took out loans to finance their educations owed an average of $25,250 in student debt at graduation -- a 5% increase from the year before.

The data were compiled from more than 1,000 colleges -- half the country's public and private nonprofit four-year schools. According to the report, only five out of 471 for-profit colleges reported student debt data for their 2010 graduates. Had profit-making schools been included, The New York Times reports, the "average amount of debt would be even higher," since at these colleges, "almost all students take out loans and, according to federal data, borrow about 45 percent more than students at nonprofits."

The report blamed difficult economic conditions and increasing costs of tuition for the record level of student indebtedness: "Most students in the Class of 2010 started college before the recent economic downturn, but the economy soured while they were still in school, widening the gap between rising college costs and what students and their parents could afford." The report did not include loans taken out by parents in its calculations.

In all, about two-thirds of seniors graduating in 2010 carried student debt. The class of 2010 "also faced the highest unemployment rate for young college graduates in recent history at 9.1%," the Institute noted in its press release.
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