Student Debt Impact and Implications
The Growing Student Debt Problem
Student loan debt has grown significantly over the past decade in the U.S. and has reached a staggering $1.3 trillion.13 The Project on Student Debt estimates that, nationally, college seniors who graduated in 2014 carried an average of $28,950 in student loan debt. State averages for student loan debt upon graduation ranged widely, from approximately $19,000 to $34,000. Iowa’s average student debt of $29,732 ranked as the eighth highest average in the nation for the class of 2014.14
Iowa is also ranked eighth in the nation in the highest percentage of students graduating with student loan debt, at 68 percent of Iowa’s 2014 graduating class. Between 2004 and 2014, the average amount of student debt in Iowa rose by 23 percent. Iowa had the third slowest growing average student debt in the nation over the 10-year period.14
Student Debt by Sector
The amount borrowed to complete a bachelor’s or associate degree varies by sector. Nationally, students at private, for-profit institutions were three to four times more likely than students at public institutions to borrow more than $40,000 for a bachelor’s degree or $30,000 for an associate degree.15
13) Bricker, J., Brown, M., Hannon, S., and Pence, K. (August 7, 2015). FEDS Notes. How much student debt is out there?
14) The Institute for College Access & Success. (2015). Student Debt and the Class of 2014.
15) The Collegeboard. (2015). Trends in Higher Education.