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Michigan college grads facing increasing student loan debt

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio
Grand Valley State University, Allendale campus (file photo)

A new report shows Michigan college students are carrying a lot of student loan debt.

The Institute for College Access and Success says Michigan college graduates who earned bachelor’s degrees in 2012 owed nearly $29,000 in student loans.

Debbie Cochran is with the institute. She blames the recession and declining government support for forcing students to borrow more to pay for college.

“Of all the states we could rank, Michigan ranked tenth in terms of the highest levels of debt,” says Cochran, “(Michigan) also ranked 19th in terms of the share of students graduating with debt. So it’s relatively high.”

What students owed varied widely depending on where they got their diplomas.

For example, students attending U of M, MSU and Wayne State had less student loan debt than students graduating from Central Michigan, Ferris State and Western Michigan universities.

Private college grads on average racked up more student loan debt than public college students.  

Among private schools in Michigan, Lawrence Technological University graduates owe the most.

The average Lawrence Tech grad in 2012 had more than $41,000 in student loans to pay off.

Nationally, student loan debt has been rising as well.   2012 graduates owed $29,400 on  their student loans.  The rate has been rising by about 6% a year since 2008. 

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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