Other key findings show:

Nearly 80 percent of Black students in the class of 2008 graduated with student debt averaging $28,692, while student debt for White graduates occurred with 65.6 percent and at a reduced debt load of $24,692;

Approximately 75 percent of students earning Bachelor’s degrees from families earning less than $60,000 incurred debt; by comparison, students earning the same degree from families earning more than $100,000 incurred debt at a rate of 45 percent;

Students enrolled in private for-profit schools incurred the greatest average debt at $33,050; followed by private, non-profit schools with an average of $27,650 in debt;

The lowest student debt was incurred at public universities with an average of $20,200.

Debbie Goldstein, executive vice-president with the Center for Responsible Lending said, “This rising burden on American young people impairs their ability to build wealth through savings, homeownership or other investments in their financial future. The problem is particularly serious for students of color and also for those who attend for-profit colleges, which leave students with much larger debts and a higher risk of default.”

Similar observations were voiced by Max Richtman, president and CEO at the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare. “A secure retirement has long been premised on three solid legs of the stool—that is Social Security, employer-sponsored pensions and personal retirement savings,” said Ritchtman. “This report shows that the ability of families to save for retirement is reduced by the burden of high student loan debt, leading to diminished lifetime savings and a lesser standard of living in retirement.”

(Charlene Crowell is a communications manager with the Center for Responsible Lending. She can be reached at: Charlene.crowell@re­sponsible­lending.org.) 


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