College Guide


October 05, 2012 10:00 AM College Admissions Directors on College Debt

By Daniel Luzer

Apparently America’s college admissions directors think there’s no need to worry about education debt. Just get used to it, America. According to a new survey conducted by Inside Higher Ed:

A plurality of college admissions directors in a new survey by Inside Higher Ed indicated that current average loan volume for undergraduates is reasonable — and 22 percent of all admissions directors and 28 percent of those at private colleges would be comfortable with the average student debt being even higher than it is now.

About 42 percent admissions directors think $20,000 to $30,000 of student loan debt “reasonable.” Almost 20 percent think $30,000 to $40,000 is appropriate. Only two percent of admissions directors surveyed think it’s reasonable to expect no debt upon graduation.

This cheery acceptance of such debt burdens is in direct contrast to studies conducted using actual financial experts. Back in March the Federal Reserve Bank of New York issued a report that indicated that,

Student loan debt is not just a concern for the young. Parents and the federal government shoulder a substantial part of the postsecondary education bill. Moreover, the student loan delinquency picture is not fully captured in the broad statistics since a significant proportion of borrowers and balances are not yet in the repayment cycle. The implications of this last fact for future changes in the student loan delinquency rate are a very important area of research.

This doesn’t mean student loans are a bad thing, necessarily, but it does indicate that they’re something that could quickly turn into a problem for students, parents, and taxpayers.

The new survey by Inside Higher Ed, however, seems to indicate that it’s probably not worth it to try and ask college administrators to monitor and address this problem. They’re not really concerned.

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer


  • jonas on October 07, 2012 12:32 PM:

    I came away from my private liberal arts college education more than twenty years ago with about $40,000 in debt (interest free, natch), which was about half of what my school cost for four years back then and that I still have a few years to pay off. Was it worth it? Fortunately, I've done pretty well (it was a top-five school) since then, so the couple of bills a month student loan payment was never a problem. Others aren't so lucky, to be sure. The rule seems to be: if you go into debt going to Swarthmore or Yale, it's not a problem. If you go deep into debt going to some no-name, for-profit school to get a degree in a low-paying field, then you're screwed.