In November 2014, The Institute for College Access & Success (TICAS) released "Student Debt and the Class of 2013," its annual report on the student loan debt of four-year college graduates. So what is the current state of student debt? Here are the eight key lessons that can be gleaned from this informative report:
- The vast majority of students continue to have to borrow to go to college. According to the report, 69 percent of the college seniors who graduated from public and private nonprofit colleges in 2013 had student loan debt.
One last point: TICAS does a great job compiling this report annually based on data that is voluntarily provided. It is both helpful and interesting. But as TICAS notes, it could be even more helpful for students with better data. The Department of Education should make it a priority to start collecting this information either through the National Student Loan Data System (updated to include private loans) or through the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). And then this information should be shared in multiple forums in easy to understand ways so prospective students can make the best possible decisions about college.
Isaac Bowers is Associate Director for Law School Engagement & Advocacy, overseeing the Student Debt, Student Engagement, and Law School Relations programs. He was previously responsible for the organization's educational debt relief initiatives. In that capacity, he wrote a weekly blog for U.S. News; conducted monthly webinars for a wide range of audiences; advised employers, law schools and professional organizations; and worked with Congress and the Department of Education on Federal legislation and regulations. Prior to joining Equal Justice Works, he was a Fellow at Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger LLP in San Francisco, where he represented citizen groups and local agencies in environmental litigation and land use and planning issues. Isaac received his J.D. from New York University School of Law.