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Higher Ed in the News

Rise in average borrowing by students

August 13, 2009

Although about a third of the students who earned bachelor's degrees in 2007-2008 graduated with no debt, the average amount students borrow has increased, according to a policy brief released Tuesday by the College Board.

For bachelor’s degree recipients who did borrow, the median loan debt was $19,999, up 5 percent from $18,973 four years earlier, adjusted for inflation.

The data, the latest available, come from the federal Department of Education’s National Postsecondary Student Aid Study, which is conducted every four years.

For-profit colleges acquire much of their revenue from federal aid. The authors of the brief say for-profit colleges had about 7 percent of the nation’s undergraduates in 2006, but received about 19 percent of the federal Pell grants.

According to the brief, 50 percent of all full-time students took out a federal loan in 2007-2008, and 19 percent took out private loans, many of them borrowing through both routes.

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Read more in the New York Times.