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Majority of 1992-93 College Graduates Paid Off Undergraduate Loan Debt Within 10 Years

July 24, 2006

Almost three-quarters of 1992-93 bachelor’s degree recipients who did not pursue an additional degree beyond the bachelor’s had repaid all their undergraduate student loans by 2003, suggesting that the majority of these graduates were able to manage their student loan debt effectively. Close to 60 percent of those who went on to graduate school reported entirely paying off their undergraduate debt, as well, by 2003. According to the National Center for Education Statistic’s analysis of data that tracked these college graduates over the course of 10 years, a little more than half (51 percent) borrowed for their undergraduate education, $10,200 on average.

Forty-one percent of 1992-93 bachelor’s degree recipients enrolled in a graduate or first-professional degree program at some time after graduation. To finance their advanced degree, 45 percent borrowed for graduate study (an average of $33,200 by 2003). Of that 45 percent who took out graduate loans, 27 percent borrowed for both undergraduate and graduate studies. Thirty-one percent of students who enrolled in graduate school did not borrow at either level.

Between 1992-93 and 2003-04, borrowing to finance undergraduate and graduate studies has increased substantially, and it continues to rise. In addition, changes to the Higher Education Act in 1992 allowed students to borrow through the federal student loan program, regardless of financial need (a requirement prior to 1992). Therefore, future analysis of student debt burden experienced by post-1992 college graduates may present a different picture.

For more descriptive information on these borrowers, the report, Dealing With Debt: 1992 Bachelor’s Degree Recipients 10 Years Later, is available at no cost on the NCES Web site.