College Grads Owe an Average $23,200 in Student Debt

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Recent college graduates with dreams of post-degree grandeur are being pummelled by the recession and forced to live with the reality of how much their degrees cost and how difficult it is to use them right now.

A report released this week by The Project on Student Debt shows that 2008 college graduates owe and average of $23,200 on their educations, a figure 25 percent higher than what their older brothers and sisters owed when they graduated from college in 2004. On top of double-digit debt, the report also cites unpublished numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that show how seriously college graduates are being affected by unemployment. In the third quarter of 2008, the unemployment rate for graduates ages 20 to 24 was 7.6 percent. One year later, the rate has jumped to an all-time high of 10.6 percent.

The report also breaks down average student debt by state on a user-friendly map which shows a concentration of high averages in the Northeast and a concentration of low averages in the West. The District of Columbia ($29,793), Iowa ($28,174) and Connecticut ($26,138) have the highest averages while Utah ($13,041), Hawaii ($15,156) and Kentucky ($15,951) have the lowest. Though the report deals in averages, there are many students who owe much more than their state’s average, and the number of students who owe twice the national average has been creeping up over the past few years.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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