December 7, 2011

Only 0.3% of Bachelors Degree Recipients Accumulate over $100,000 in Student Loans

For a while now I've been a little annoyed how the media seems to always find a student who owes over $100,000 in student loans and then cite them as an example borrower.   The articles like that make it seem like people that heavily in debt are typical or representative of a normal college student.

When I wrote Is There Really A Student Loan Problem I tried to find data about how many students actually end up accumulating over $100,000 in student loans but I couldn't find anything.    I had guessed that less than 1-2% of students end up owing over $100,000.  

Well I now have the data.  Thanks to a recent article from MyMoneyBlog that pointed to the article Student Loan Debt: Who Are the 1%? from the New York Times.  

That NYT article says:

"Only one-tenth of 1 percent of college entrants, and only three-tenths of 1 percent of bachelor’s degree recipients, accumulate more than $100,000 in undergraduate student debt."

They are excluding people who went to graduate school or professional school, so this is just for people who went to undergraduate programs.   The NYT article cites data from U.S. Department of Education, Beginning Postsecondary Students Survey (2009).

So there you go... a fraction of a percent of undergrad students actually end up in  debt for 6 figures.

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