Retrospectacle: A Neuroscience Blog

Students: How Much Debt Are You In?

This generation of students will graduate with more student loans and debt than any previous to it (adjusted for inflation, of course). Rising school costs, living costs in college towns, and credit card debt may all be to blame. I came across a state-by-state interactive map over at USA Today, which breaks down the average debt accrued by students graduating from public and private universities.

Something I thought was strange: Iowa’s private university grad debt is lower than its public grad debt. Wonder why….

Anyway, if you want to know a bit more, go here.


  1. #1 James
    December 4, 2006

    Yah, I hear that…
    I’m at 180K currently, looking at 220 by the time I graduate… In hindsight, maybe I didn’t need a Jacobs watch…
    Sure is sparkly though…

  2. #2 Robert P.
    December 4, 2006

    220? Are you in med school?

    I’ve got a fair chunk, but I also worked all through undergrad and grad school. Didn’t learn much useful information, but if you give me the right equipment, I could probably make a mean batch of croissant still.

  3. #3 Dave Munger
    December 4, 2006

    I think you mean the private debt is lower than the public debt. I’m guessing it’s because Iowa has really good public schools, so highly qualified individuals go there instead of private schools. Only the rich kids go to private schools, and so they don’t need to finance their education to the same degree, even though it costs more.

  4. #4 shelley
    December 4, 2006

    Yes, thats what I meant, oops. Thats why I shouldn’t type posts at 2am. 🙂

  5. #5 Joshua
    December 4, 2006


    I try not to think about it. I’d probably cry if I did.

    Suffice to say “lots”.

  6. #6 Winawer
    December 4, 2006


    By the time I finish my PhD: 0.

    But then, I got lucky…

  7. #7 Kristjan Wager
    December 4, 2006

    In the region of $50K, but then I don’t even have a B.Sc. yet, and my education is free.

    I won’t be getting into more debt before finishing, but then, I work full time, and only study occationally.

    Studying is only out of interest these days, as a IT consultant with several years of experience, a B.Sc. degree is a bit redundant when job-hunting – M.Sc. might make a difference, but that will be years away, and by then, even such a degree will be redundant.

  8. #8 Robster
    December 4, 2006

    I got lucky on undergrad, with no debt. On the other hand, my wife has a 100K+. I have a feeling that getting an MPH on top of my phud will give me a nice bit of debt.

  9. #9 Kristjan Wager
    December 4, 2006

    >In the region of $50K, but then I don’t even have a B.Sc. yet, and my education is free.

    I just realized that some context for this might be in order – while education is free, and you can get a monthly stipend from the state (in the region of $750) for up to six years while studying, Danish citizens of course pay for the education in other ways. We have a VAT of 25%, and I pay about 50% tax (about 60% for my last earned $). Still, a good prioritizing by the state, in my opinion.

  10. #10 Johan
    December 5, 2006

    Right now, around 10k in Yankee dollars. By the end of my B.Sc., probably twice as much.

    I study in the UK, and I was in the last cohort where tuition fees were determined in part by your household income. As my household income is quite small (especially by UK standards), I pay no tuition fees. Add to that a rather generous Swedish student loan, and I actually opted out of some of the money I’m entitled to this year, because I ended up with much more than I needed last year.

    Not that having money in my account is bad, it’s just a bit unnerving, knowing that it will all have to be paid back one day.

  11. #11 Alon Levy
    December 6, 2006

    I think the college debt my parents ended up accruing for me was $17,000 US, which they’re trying to pay down (apparently, the Singaporean government requires filling onerous forms even if you want to pay it money).

    In the US, you can think about it this way: at 1.25 million graduates per year, and $15,000/student, the government could make tertiary education completely free for a pittance (okay, not a pittance, $18.75 billion, but we’re talking about a government that flushes $100 billion a year down the toilet in Iraq).

  12. #12 Robert P.
    December 6, 2006

    I really like John Edwards idea in the last election that we would make college feasible for anyone who was willing to work 10 hours a week. I did that and more all through undergrad and graduate school.

New comments have been disabled.