Study: Pa. college grads have 2nd-highest average student debt load in nation
College graduates in Pennsylvania shouldered the second-highest average student debt load in the nation in 2018, a new survey found.
According to the Institute for College Access and Success survey of 2018 college graduates, only Connecticut graduates, who shouldered an average debt of $38,669, fared worse than their Pennsylvania counterparts, who had an average student loan debt of $37,061 at graduation that year.
At the other end of the spectrum, college grads in Utah carried the lowest average debt: $19,728.
“Nationally, about two in three (65%) of college seniors who graduated from public and private nonprofit colleges in 2018 had student loan debt, the same share as the Class of 2017,” the institute reported. “Borrowers from the Class of 2018 owed an average of $29,200, a 2% increase from the average of $28,650 in 2017.”
The Pennsylvania figures should come as no surprise to anyone who tracks college debt. Pennsylvania graduates typically rank near the top of the list for debt in most national surveys and have for years.
But it’s not just Pennsylvania graduates who are struggling with student loan debt. According to the New York Federal Reserve Bank, more than 44 million Americans owed about $1.5 trillion in student debt at the end of June when about 10% of borrowers were classified as being in “serious delinquency” on payments.
Although the new survey tracked an increase in debt loads from 2017 to 2018, researchers said there is some encouraging news.
“After many years of growth in college graduates’ average student debt, debt loads have continued to climb but they are climbing at a slower pace,” researchers said, noting that last year’s growth in debt levels slowed to an increase of about 2% after climbing about 4% annually in recent years.
Deb Erdley is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Deb at 724-850-1209, [email protected] or via Twitter .