SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash. — Data collected for the class of 2017 revealed fewer college students graduated with debt compared to the prior year, but the amount of debt students have continued to rise nationally.
LendEDU, an online marketplace for student loans and refinancing, gathered data provided by more than 1,000 universities in the Peterson’s Annual Survey of Undergraduate Financial Aid. It determined the total outstanding student loan debt now stands at $1.52 trillion, making it the second largest form of consumer debt behind mortgages.
The good news is nationally the class of 2017 saw a nearly 2 percent decrease in the number of graduates with student loan debt. The bad news is the amount of debt students have increased by over $300 from $27,975 to $28,288.
But according to LendEDU’s Student Debt by School by State report, Washington is headed in the right direction. Washington’s average debt per borrower, or D.P.B., went from $24,164 in 2016 to $23,359 in 2017, a 3 percent decrease.
Washington also saw a small decrease in the number of graduates with debt from 53 percent in 2016 to 52 percent in 2017. Compared to other states, Washington has the sixth lowest amount of D.P.B.
But when you look at the universities themselves, it’s a different story. Only two Washington universities have a lower amount of D.P.B. than the state’s average, and they rank among the nation’s lowest amounts of D.P.B. for private and public universities.
The rest have at least $3,000 more D.P.B. than the state’s average. All of Washington’s public schools but two (Washington State and Eastern Washington University) saw decreases in the amount of D.P.B.
Here’s how they stack up:
University of Washington – Avg. D.P.B. $18,850
48% grads w/ debt
Central Washington University – Avg. D.P.B. $20,411
84% grads w/ debt
Washington State University – Avg. D.P.B. $26,807
58% grads w/ debt
Whitworth University – Avg. D.P.B. $26,940
69% grads w/ debt
Eastern Washington University – Avg. D.P.B. $27,961
52% grads w/ debt
Idaho also saw decreases in both the amount of D.P.B. and the amount of students graduating with debt, although still trailing far behind Washington with the nation’s seventeenth lowest average D.P.B. In 2016, Idaho’s average D.P.B. came out to $26,980 and 66 percent of undergrads graduated in debt. That’s almost $400 more than 2017, and 5 percent more graduates in debt.
Idaho’s most attended public universities, University of Idaho and Boise State University, both saw decreases in the average D.P.B. It’s worth noting though that U of I decreased by 5 percent, while Boise decreased by less than 1 percent.
The numbers below:
University of Idaho – Avg. D.P.B. $25,145
59% grads w/ debt
Boise State University – Avg. D.P.B. $27,974
59% grads w/ debt