Student Debt and the Class of 2014

Posted by The Institute for College Access & Success (TICAS) on November 16, 2015

Student Debt and the Class of 2014 is our tenth annual report on the student loan debt of recent graduates from four-year colleges. It documents the latest rise in student loan debt and finds considerable variation among states as well as
colleges. It also includes a new analysis of how debt at graduation has changed over the last decade. Unless otherwise noted, the figures in this report are only for public and nonprofit colleges, because virtually no for-profit colleges report what their graduates owe.

The Class of 2014

About seven in 10 (69%) college seniors who graduated from public and private nonprofit colleges in 2014 had student loan debt, the same share as in 2013. These borrowers owed an average of $28,950, up two percent from the 2013 average of $28,400. About one-sixth (17%) of the Class of 2014’s debt was comprised of private loans, which provide fewer consumer protections and repayment options and are typically more costly than federal loans.

State averages for debt at graduation ranged widely in 2014, from $18,900 to $33,800, and new graduates’ likelihood of having debt ranged from 46 percent to 76 percent. In six states, average debt was more than $30,000. High-debt states remain concentrated in the Northeast and Midwest, and low-debt states are mainly in the West. See page 6 for state-by-state debt figures for the Class of 2014.

Average debt at the college level varied even more, from a low of $4,750 to a high of $60,750 for the Class of 2014. While colleges with higher sticker prices tend to have higher average debt, there are high-cost colleges with low average debt, and vice versa. For more about debt at the college level, including lists of high- and low-debt schools, see page 11.

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