June 16th, 2015
My recent article on student debt prompted many questions from readers who were hungry for more detail. I had provided statistics on all undergraduates, but many readers wanted to see debt for those who graduated with a bachelor’s degree.
When you break out the borrowing data by educational attainment, students who get bachelor’s degrees are more likely to borrow than the typical college student. This makes sense: When you stay in school longer, you have more years of tuition to pay and more opportunities to borrow. Fifteen percent of those with a B.A. borrowed more than $30,000, about double the rate of the typical college student. Five percent borrowed more than $50,000, compared with 2 percent of all college students.
These data are from the Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study, the most comprehensive survey of student borrowing. It measured Class of 2003 students’ debt six years after entering college.