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Pennsylvania Ranks Third Among States For Student Debt

The Institute for College Access and Success recently ranked Pennsylvania third in the nation in how high states’ average student loan debts are, with Pennsylvania’s 2013 graduates accumulating an average of $32,528.

The study included public colleges and non-profit private colleges. The overall ranks are determined by the average amount of debt incurred by a 2013 graduate, and Pennsylvania placed behind only New Hampshire and Delaware. This number is significantly higher than the national average of $28,400. While the difference between New Hampshire, Delaware and Pennsylvania is only a few hundred dollars, Pennsylvania’s debt is approximately $1,000 higher than the fourth-highest state, Rhode Island. The data also mentions that 71 percent of the Class of 2013 from Pennsylvania had debt to pay off within the year, which was the third highest of any state.

The Keystone Research Center, a Pennsylvania policy research group, attributes these rising numbers to the state cuts in higher education, saying that, “Pennsylvania ranks 47th among states in funding for public higher education per $1,000 of personal income and 48th in funding per capita.” Public tuition fees are also among the highest in the country.

Penn State’s average debt of graduate number is higher than the Pennsylvania average, at $35,430 for University Park. However, only 66 percent of graduates from Penn State had debt when they graduated, which is lower than the 71 percent for Pennsylvania as a whole. Among graduates of public universities in Pennsylvania, Penn State’s students have the fifth-highest average debt amounts, behind Lincoln University of Pennsylvania ($39,206), Indiana University of Pennsylvania-Main Campus ($37,457), University of Pittsburgh-Greensburg ($35,700), and University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown ($35,480). Penn State’s percentage of students who have debt is tied for the second lowest with University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus, behind only East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania.

A complete review of the data can be examined here.

About the Author

Alex Calderaro

Alex Calderaro is a junior majoring in Supply Chain Management from Central Jersey. As a first generation Penn Stater, she has found a home here in several places, including her sorority, and, of course, Onward State. You can contact her at [email protected] or follow her on twitter @alexcalderaro.

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