Our student loan debt is $1 trillion and climbing. According to a new report, two-thirds of college seniors who graduated last year had student loan debt. The average was $26,600 per borrower. This is the highest average debt among students who graduated with a bachelor's degree in U.S. history.
To make things even more difficult, unemployment for recent college grads was at 8.8 percent in 2011. Loans are a must for many families, and this report, by the Project on Student Debt, is meant to inform families of their options while also offering recommendations on how to be prepared when it's time to choose which financial aid route to take.
Lauren Asher, the president of the Institute for College Access and Success which runs the Project on Student Debt, told TakePart that student loans "are going to be a factor for more and more people going forward." One of the problems, she says, is that "it's harder than it should be for students and families to figure out what college is really going to cost." Asher wants families to know that if they do need a loan, "federal loans are safest." If you do need to borrow," she says, "federal loans come with flexible repayment plans and a range of borrower protections that other kinds of loans don't provide. Private loans are not financial aid any more than a credit card if you use it to pay for your tuition or fees."
On the policy level, she says, their top recommendation is that "the federal government provide students and families with the types of information they need to make smart decisions on where to go to college and how to pay for it—especially the average debt at graduation and the share of students who borrow."
Click through the gallery to learn which states and schools have the most loan debt. Is the state where you live on the list?
(Image: Project on Student Debt)