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Minnesota college grads have third-most debt; MCAD has highest average debt load

Minnesota college grads are some of the most debt-saddled in the country.
Minnesota college grads are some of the most debt-saddled in the country.

Yesterday, the California-based Institute for College Access and Success released its seventh-annual state-by-state student debt report, and it turns out Minnesota is right near the top of the charts when it comes to average debt load for college grads.

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According to the study, Minnesota is the third highest-debt state, with graduates carrying an average debt load of $29,793. The only state with higher average debts are first-overall New Hampshire and Pennsylvania. At the bottom of the list is 48th-ranked Oklahoma, Texas, and 50th-ranked Washington.

Minnesota also ranks fifth from the top when it comes to the proportion of college grads who have debt, at 71 percent.

In terms of national trends, the report notes that "the debt levels of students who graduate with loans continues to rise," with a five percent increase in average debt from 2010 to 2011.

"The five percent increase in average debt at the national level is similar to the average annual increase over the past few years," the report notes. "Also similar to previous years, about one-fifth of graduates' debt is comprised of private loans."

A bit more from the report:

Recent college graduates have entered an enormously difficult job market, which poses particular challenges for those who need to begin paying back student loans. The unemployment rate for young college graduates in 2011 remained high at 8.8 percent, a slight decrease from 2010, which saw the highest annual rate on record for this group (9.1%). In addition, many more young graduates were considered underemployed. Among those who wanted to be working full time, as many as 19.1 percent were either working part time or had given up looking for work. Further, 37.8 percent of working young graduates had jobs that did not require a college degree, depressing their wages.

However, even in these tough times, research continues to show strong economic returns on investments in college degrees. Four-year college graduates are experiencing far less unemployment and earning higher salaries than their counterparts with only a high school education. For instance, the unemployment rate for young high school graduates was 19.1 percent in 2011, more than double the rate for young college graduates. 

A separate study by the Project on Student Debt

breaks down average debts school-by-school.

As far as private schools go, in Minnesota, Minneapolis College of Art and Design graduates can expect to leave with the most debt, as in 2011 graduates carried $43,035 in unpaid loans. Coming in second was The College of Saint Scholastica, at $41,282, followed by Concordia University-Saint Paul ($36,757), Concordia College at Moorhead ($35,240), and St. Catherine University ($35,237).

On the public school end of the spectrum, 2011 Winona State grads carried the most debt, at $31,275, followed by second-place University of Minnesota-Duluth ($31,168), Minnesota State University-Mankato ($29,415), St. Cloud State University ($28,819), the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities ($28,407), and Southwest Minnesota State University ($26,394).

-- Hat-tip: BringMeTheNews --


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