Grads of Pennsylvania colleges gain unwanted distinction

Pennsylvania’s college graduates carry more student loan debt than almost any other state.  A new report by The Institute for College Access and Success shows Keystone State grads’ student loan debt ranked second in the country last year: students at public and non-profit colleges left with $29,959 in loans on average.

“Unfortunately Pennsylvania’s been on the list of one of the highest debt states ever since we started doing this report in 2006,” said Pauline Abernathy, vice president of The Institute for College Access and Success.  “Both our public college and our non-profit college charge more than the national average for tuition and fees.  And in the case of our public colleges they not only charge more, they provide less grant aid than the national average.  With our non-profit colleges in Pennsylvania, they charge more but they also provide more grant aid but not enough to make up for the higher average cost.” 

Abernathy said to protect themselves, families should research schools.

“To look not at the sticker price, but what the price would be after grant aid,” she said,  “and if they need to borrow to make sure to borrow only federal loans and stay away from private loans that are much more costly and don’t have the same protection and re-payment options.”

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

Only New Hampshire students graduated with more debt.  Delaware was not ranked and New Jersey placed 10th on the list.

WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal