My Two Cents

Low-income student loan debts

Chris Farrell Mar 25, 2009

After our joint Marketplace/American Radio Works trip to Muncie to report on poverty, I suspected that the average cumulative student loan debt burden for low income and first generation students that go to college but don’t finish is high. Some figures published in the Pell Institute report “Moving Beyond Access: College Success for Low-Income, First Generation Students,” confirms that suspicion.

The amount of loan debt for low-income, first-generation students (and their peers for that matter)who leave before graduation is staggering. Low-income, first generation students who left during their first year owed $6,557 on average while those leaving in their fourth year owed an average of $16,548. These students must pay back their loans without the extra earnings power associated with attaining their degrees–and without the parental or family resources that might be available to their more socioeconomically advantaged peers who leave in debt.

You can read the full report here.

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