Debt Free, For Some

Visual.ly, the information graphics Website that produces visual representations of social science data, has just produced the following picture of education debt in America. What to graduate debt free? Well here you go:

DebtCHART.JPG

The picture comes from information at FinAid.org. No great surprise here, the best way to avoid debt is to go to a state school (or to have rich parents).

This is interesting, though it seems to imply that the ability to graduate without debt is largely personal. Shouldn’t no debt be the norm? Currently three out of five college students graduate, begin their professional lives, with debt they have to pay back for their education. What might be more interesting is the geographic and racial diversity of those who graduate without education debt. Certain states, those with more expensive state universities, probably leave their college students with higher debt.

It would be important to look at this information compared to the situation in, say, 1980. Back when college costs were dramatically cheaper the portrait of those who graduated without debt probably looked a lot different, because it was much more common. Because the best way to ensure that college students graduate with less debt is not entirely a personal decision; it has to do with how much we force students to pay to attend college

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer