These 20 schools are responsible for a fifth of all graduate school debt

Posted on July 18th, 2015

We’ve written before how graduate school debt has a huge impact on the total amount of student debt in the U.S.

Many students, unable to find a high-paying job after college, think that graduate school is the answer–only to face the reality of high debt and a minimal increase in salary and job prospects.

And according to a new study from the Center for American Progress, as reported by The Washington Post, a small number of schools are responsible for a large portion of the student debt problem.

Schools with the most graduate student debt

The study found that just 20 universities received one-fifth, or $6.5 billion, of the total amount of student loans the government gave graduate students in the 2013-2014 academic year.

Despite being responsible for 20% of graduate student debt, these schools educate just 12 percent of all graduate students, the study found.

According to the study, graduate students borrowed the most ($756 million), to attend Walden University, a for-profit school that specializes in graduate degrees in education, healthcare and business.

Despite only educating 12 percent of all graduate students, these 20 schools are responsible for one-fifth of the total graduate student debt.

Despite only educating 12 percent of all graduate students, these 20 schools are responsible for one-fifth of the total graduate student debt. (Source: The Washington Post)

Not surprisingly, seven other for-profit colleges made the top 20 list, including University of Phoenix and Capella University. As we’ve written, these colleges have been criticized for their high student debt and poor student outcomes.

Several other notable and elite colleges made the list, including Columbia University, New York University and Georgetown University. These schools charge at least $40,000 a year for tuition, adding to graduate students’ debt burden.

Graduate school doesn’t always pay off

While advanced degrees such as law and medicine tend to pay off over time due to the higher salaries such graduates tend to receive, that isn’t the case for the majority of these graduates.

The study found that not only do these universities cause graduate students to take out a hefty sum of loans, their students tend to take them out for advanced degrees that won’t pay very well, such as journalism, fine arts or government.

Unlike undergraduates, whose borrowing is capped, graduate students can borrow the full cost of attendance from the government to attend graduate schools. Unfortunately, that’s how many end up with debt in the six figures.

Help managing graduate school debt

Before choosing to attend graduate school and borrow large sums of money to pay for it, prospective students should carefully weigh their options and make sure they understand the impact of their decision. It’s crucial for students to consider what their future payments will be and what their job and salary prospects will look like to avoid taking on more debt than they can manage.

However, if you’re a graduate student or other student loan borrower already struggling from the weight of student loan debt, our student loan experts can help you get on a more manageable repayment schedule so that you can avoid falling behind on payments and get rid of your debt.

To learn how we can help, give us a call toll-free at 1-888-234-3907 or contact us using this form and we’ll get back to you right away.

Category: Student Loans & Repayment

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