Graduating From IOU: Student Loans in America

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It’s no secret that, with skyrocketing tuition rates, many college graduates are leaving their Alma Maters with a degree in one hand and a pile of debt in the other. As the Wall Street Journal recently reported, student loan debt has now surpassed credit-card debt: a trend that has sparked heated debate and caused many to question the very necessity of getting a college degree if that means burying yourself in student loans.

In 2008, students graduated from college with an average of $23,200 in student loans, up from an average $18,650 just four years earlier. And that’s just an average: some students graduate with six-digit debt, many are saddled with student loan payments for decades on end.  In this infographic, we take a look at student loan debt in America. Which states are most saddled with loans? Does it make a difference if you go to a four-year public versus a private non-profit or private for-profit university? And just how big is the problem with student loan defaults?