According to a survey of 1000+ colleges by The Project on Student Debt, the average college senior graduated with about $24K in debt from student loans in 2009 – an increase of 6% from the previous year. That might sound like a large increase; however, it’s right in line with the average per annum increase we would expect to see in spite of the global recession. The reason for this consistency is two-fold:
- Most graduating seniors took out student loans prior to when the recession hit
- Colleges and universities have worked hard to maintain financial aid despite the economy
Still, $24,000 is a ton of debt when seniors are graduating into an economy in which nearly 10% of the population is unemployed (8.7% for grads aged 20 to 24). Couple that debt with student auto loans, and today’s recent college grads are facing some tough challenges in the next couple of years. However, from another perspective, this stage of life may well have been more challenging for many of their parents who graduated from college during the Vietnam era, with the draft looming over everyone’s heads.