10 Colleges That Leave Graduates with the Most Student Loan Debt

The U.S. News Short List, separate from our overall rankings, is a regular series that magnifies individual data points in hopes of providing students and parents a way to find which undergraduate or graduate programs excel or have room to grow in specific areas. Be sure to explore The Short List: College, The Short List: Grad School and The Short List: Online Programs to find data that matter to you in your college or grad school search.

Student loans get a bad rap.

They have been compared to the mortgage crisis, and blamed for causing mental problems and stunting graduates’ financial growth.

In fact, in a survey of 16- to 19-year-olds by Northeastern University, 25 percent said that no amount of student loan debt is manageable.

Those teens are in for a rude awaking.

Learn about the risk factors for [delaying graduation and accumulating more debt.]

Among the class of 2013, the average debt load for borrowers was $27,666, according to 1,027 ranked schools reporting debt data to U.S. News.

If students were paying 6 percent rate on that debt, $27,666 would translate into a little more than $300 per month over the standard 10-year repayment plan, according to an online repayment calculator. Interest rates on student loans, especially private ones, can vary.

On average, 68 percent of 2013 graduates borrowed to attend school, according to the 1,041 ranked schools reporting that figure to U.S. News.

The school that left the class of 2013 in the most debt was St. Francis University, tied at No. 56 in the Regional Universities (North) rankings.

The nearly 88 percent of St. Francis students who borrowed graduated with an average $50,275 in loans. That would work out to nearly $600 in monthly payments over the 10-year repayment plan, assuming a 6 percent interest rate.

Read more tips and advice on [paying for college.]

Below is a list of the 10 universities where graduates who borrowed took on the most student loan debt. Unranked schools, which did not meet certain criteria required by U.S. News to be numerically ranked, were not considered for this report.

School name (state) Average debt load, class of 2013 Percentage of students who borrowed U.S. News rank and category
St. Francis University (PA) $50,275 87.7 56 (tie), Regional Universities (North)
The Citadel (SC) $48,862 60 4, Regional Universities (South)
Anna Maria College (MA) $48,750 92 RNP*, Regional Universities (North)
Rockford University (IL) $45,577 89 84 (tie), Regional Universities (Midwest)
LeTourneau University (TX) $44,584 77 27 (tie), Regional Universities (West)
Quinnipiac University (CT) $44,552 71 9 (tie), Regional Universities (North)
Mount Ida College (MA) $43,860 84.9 40 (tie), Regional Colleges (North)
Centenary College (NJ) $43,200 79 RNP, Regional Universities (North)
College of St. Scholastica (MN) $43,113 76 23 (tie), Regional Universities (Midwest)
Abilene Christian University (TX) $42,585 66 17 (tie), Regional Universities (West)

* RNP denotes an institution that is ranked in the bottom one-fourth of its rankings category. U.S. News calculates a rank for the school but has decided not to publish it.

Don’t see your school in the top 10? Access the U.S. News College Compass to find data on student debt, complete rankings and much more. School officials can access historical data and rankings, including of peer institutions, via U.S. News Academic Insights.

U.S. News surveyed nearly 1,800 colleges and universities for our 2014 survey of undergraduate programs. Schools self-reported myriad data regarding their academic programs and the makeup of their student body, among other areas, making U.S. News’ data the most accurate and detailed collection of college facts and figures of its kind. While U.S. News uses much of this survey data to rank schools for our annual Best Colleges rankings, the data can also be useful when examined on a smaller scale. U.S. News will now produce lists of data, separate from the overall rankings, meant to provide students and parents a means to find which schools excel, or have room to grow, in specific areas that are important to them. While the data come from the schools themselves, these lists are not related to, and have no influence over, U.S. News’ rankings of Best Colleges, Best Graduate Schools or Best Online Programs. The tuition and fees data above are correct as of Feb. 17, 2015.

More from U.S. News

5 Financial Aid, Student Loan Changes to Anticipate in 2015

Take 4 Steps to Earn a Cosigner Release on Private Student Loans

10 Tools That Give You a Tailored Estimate of What You’ll Pay for College

10 Colleges That Leave Graduates with the Most Student Loan Debt originally appeared on usnews.com

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