The majority of new graduates are struggling to secure careers, as the unemployment rate among them is the highest ever recorded at 9.1 percent. It's a fact that could not come at a more unfortunate time, considering they are also facing more student loan debt than any class before them.
According to a new study by the Project on Student Debt, two-thirds of students who graduated in 2010 are facing steep student loan debt. The average amount that new grads owe is $25,250, which is up 5 percent compared to the class of 2009. The report partly blames the fact that the economic downturn happened when students from the class of 2010 were enrolled in school, forcing them to endure a spike in tuition costs, leading them to borrow more.
Surprisingly, graduates from private colleges had relatively low debt. Researchers say it could be because private colleges offer significant financial aid from endowments and fundraising. It could also be because there is a smaller percentage of students with low to moderate incomes enrolled in private schools. In other words, the students who go to these schools are the ones who can already afford to pay for them.
The study was released just a few days after President Barack Obama announced a new plan for helping graduates to ease the burden of student loan repayments. The initiative includes cutting monthly payments, bundling loans and a lower interest rate for some eligible students.
Highs and lows
The study looks at which specific colleges produce graduates with the highest and lowest student loan debt. Here are a few of the schools that made the lists:
High debt private nonprofit schools and public universities
1. New York University
2. D'Youville College
3. Pennsylvania State University
4. Temple University
5. University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
Low debt colleges and universities
1. CUNY Hunter College
2. Princeton University
3. California State University Bakersfield
4. Texas Southern University
5. Williams College