US: Study shows rise in average student borrowing

Although about a third of American students who earned bachelor degrees in 2007-08 graduated with no debt, nearly the same as four years earlier, the average amount students borrow has increased, according to a policy brief released last week by the College Board, writes Tamar Lewin for The New York Times.

"People think students are drowning in debt, and there is a small proportion of students that borrow an exorbitant amount, but most students graduate with a manageable debt load," said Sandy Baum, an author of the brief.

For bachelor's degree recipients who did borrow, the median loan debt was $19,999, up 5% from $18,973 four years earlier, adjusted for inflation. The data come from the federal Department of Education's National Postsecondary Student Aid Study, conducted every four years. About 6% of those who completed a degree or certificate - and 10% of those who received a bachelor's degree - borrowed more than $40,000, said the brief, which does not include parents' borrowing, credit card debt, informal loans from relatives or friends, or loans for graduate school.
Full report on The New York Times site