The U.S. News Short List, separate from our overall rankings, is a regular series that magnifies individual data points in hopes of providing students and parents a way to find which undergraduate or graduate programs excel or have room to grow in specific areas. Be sure to explore The Short List: College and The Short List: Grad School to find data that matters to you in your college or grad school search.
Occupy protestors from Oakland to Wall Street list crippling student loan debt near the top of their grievances.
As colleges and universities across the country raise tuition to combat funding shortfalls, students need to come up with more money to finance their degrees. While grants and scholarships are available, few students graduate without accumulating some loan debt.
[See which schools graduates students with the least debt.]
Data collected via U.S. News's annual Best Colleges survey show that, among the 1,009 ranked schools that reported undergraduate student debt figures, 2010 graduates who borrowed funds averaged nearly $25,000 in debt. This figure does not include parent loans. U.S. News defines debt in its survey as loans taken out by students from the colleges themselves, from financial institutions, and from federal, state, and local governments. U.S. News also collects data on the percentage of graduates who borrow. Among the 1,028 ranked institutions that submitted this data for 2010 graduates, an average of nearly 68 percent of students took out loans.
Graduates of private institutions like Princeton University and Alice Lloyd College leave schools with little to no debt thanks to campus jobs, scholarships, and grants. In contrast, 2010 graduates of Eastern Nazarene College who borrowed funds averaged more than $50,000 in loans, putting the college atop the list of 10 schools with the highest total indebtedness per student. Eastern Nazarene is one of three Massachusetts schools on the list.
[Learn how to use net price calculators to gauge your college costs.]
Understanding the debt load you may accrue while completing your degree is a key component of choosing the right school. Below is a list of the 10 schools that averaged the most debt for their 2010 graduating class.
Schools that were designated by U.S. News as Unranked were not considered for this report. U.S. News did not calculate a numerical ranking for Unranked programs because the program did not meet certain criteria that U.S. News requires to be numerically ranked.
|School name(state)||Percentage of 2010 graduates who have borrowed||Average total indebtedness per student||U.S. News rank & category|
|Eastern Nazarene College (MA)||87||$51,336||*RNP, National Liberal Arts Colleges|
|Ohio Northern University (OH)||85||$48,886||2, Regional Colleges (Midwest)|
|Holy Names University (CA)||79.3||$48,833||83, Regional Universities (West)|
|University of New England (ME)||88||$47,293||104, Regional Universities (North)|
|Mount Ida College (MA)||80.3||$46,393||30, Regional Colleges (North)|
|La Salle University (PA)||84||$45,888||41, Regional Universities (North)|
|Kettering University (MI)||78||$45,570||16, Regional Universities (Midwest)|
|St. Joseph's University (PA)||62||$45,530||8, Regional Universities (North)|
|Clark Atlanta University (GA)||93||$45,227||RNP, National Universities|
|Bard College at Simon's Rock (MA)||44||$44,910||15, Regional Colleges (North)|
*RNP denotes an institution that is ranked in the bottom one fourth of its rankings category. U.S. News calculates a rank for the school but has decided not to publish it.
Don't see your school in the top 10? Access the U.S. News College Compass to find information about financial aid and student indebtedness, as well as complete rankings and much more.
U.S. News surveyed more than 1,800 colleges and universities for our 2011 survey of undergraduate programs. Schools self-reported a myriad of data regarding their academic programs and the makeup of their student body, among other areas, making U.S. News's data the most accurate and detailed collection of college facts and figures of its kind. While the data comes from the schools themselves, these lists have no influence over U.S. News's rankings of Best Colleges or Best Graduate Schools.