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Cumulative Loan Debt Accrued by CU-Boulder Bachelor's Grads

February, 2004

Analysis

  • The population was FY 2002-03 graduates with bachelor's degrees (N=3,209), who entered as freshmen.
  • They were divided into 3 groups: (1) Entered as resident, graduated as resident; (2) entered as nonresident, graduated as resident; and (3) entered as nonresident, graduated as nonresident. (Six students of 3,209 entered as residents and graduated as nonresidents; one had loan debt. These cases were discarded from analyses.)
  • Variables: Years with loans, percent with student loans, percent with parent loans, percent with either, averages and distributions of total debt from student loans, total debt from parent loans, and total debt. (Parent loans do not require demonstration of financial need and are at higher interest rates than student loans.) All means and percentiles were computed two ways: (1) including only students with any loan debt (that is, excluding students with zero debt), and (2) including all students, including those with zero debt. They are differentiated in the tables below.

Results

  • About half of those who were residents at time of degree had some loan debt, whether they entered as nonresidents and converted (NR) or entered as residents (RR); about a quarter of students who entered as and remained nonresidents (NN) had loan debt.
  • Virtually all students with any debt (student or parent) had some student loans. About half of RR students and NR students with loans, and 65% of NN students with loans, also had parent loans.
  • The amount of student and parent loan debt, if any, was roughly comparable across groups, ranging from an average of $14-22,000 for students and $16-21,000 for parents. The exception was parent loan debt for the NN group, which averaged $47,000. However, when students/parents with no debt were included, the average was $4-11,000 for the three groups of students, with the NR group highest, and $4-8,000 for parents, with the NN group highest.
  • Mean total debt for those with any debt - parent and student combined - was $22,000 for RR, $32,000 for NR, and $45,000 for NN. Medians were $18,000, $27,000, and $31,000 respectively. When students/parents with no debt were included, the averages were $10,000 for RR, $16,000 for NR, and $12,000 for NN. However, the range is very large for all groups.
  • In our analyses we assign families to one of four quartiles according to the amount of financial resources they have available, with a fifth group composed of families who did not apply for need-based aid and who are thus assumed to have the most resources. Excluding this group, 80-100% of each quartile had debt, except for RR's in the 4th quartile (highest of those applying for aid), at 58%. Among families not applying for aid, 16% of RR, 18% of NR, and 8% of NN families had debt.
  • Excluding families who didn't apply for need-based aid, the family resource quartile had little relationship to debt. Group membership (i.e., RR, NR, or NN) had a much bigger relationship, with RRs having the least debt and NNs the most.

Table 1: Basic statistics

Measure Entry Res, Degree Res Entry Non-res, Degree Res Entry Non-res, Degree Non-res
N 1,895 328 980
Mean years with loans (student or parent) 3.2 3.4 3.0
Percent with student loan 45% 51% 26%
Percent with parent loan 22% 25% 17%
Percent with either 46% 51% 26%
Mean student loan debt (if any) $ 14 K $ 22 K $ 14 K
Mean parent loan debt (if any) $ 16 K $ 21 K $ 47 K
Mean student loan debt (including those with none) $  6  K $ 11 K $  4  K
Mean parent loan debt (including those with none) $  4  K $  5  K $  8  K

Table 2: Total loan debt, Student and parent combined - for those with any

Measure Entry Res, Degree Res Entry Non-res, Degree Res Entry Non-res, Degree Non-res
Mean $ 22 K $ 32 K $ 45 K
Median $ 18 K $ 27 K $ 31 K
10th percentile $  5  K $  7  K $  6  K
25th percentile $ 10 K $ 15 K $ 12 K
75th percentile $ 31 K $ 43 K $ 75 K
90th percentile $ 47 K $ 60 K $106 K

Table 3: Total loan debt, Student and parent combined - including those with none

Measure Entry Res, Degree Res Entry Non-res, Degree Res Entry Non-res, Degree Non-res
Mean $ 10 K $ 16 K $ 12 K
Median $  0   $  3  K $  0  
10th percentile $  0   $  0   $  0  
25th percentile $  0   $  0   $  0  
75th percentile $ 17 K $ 28 K $  5  K
90th percentile $ 34 K $ 53 K $ 49 K

Table 4: Total loan debt, Percent with any debt by Family Resources Group

Family Resources Group Entry Res, Degree Res Entry Non-res, Degree Res Entry Non-res, Degree Non-res
1 (lowest) 91% 100% 88%
2 85% 100% 81%
3 86% 91% 88%
4 58% 87% 87%
1-4 combined 77% 92% 86%
5 (did not apply for need-based aid) 16% 18% 8%

Table 5: Mean total debt by Family Resources Group - For those with any

Family Resources Group Entry Res, Degree Res Entry Non-res, Degree Res Entry Non-res, Degree Non-res
1 (lowest) $ 20 K $ 33 K $ 47 K
2 $ 23 K $ 27 K $ 64 K
3 $ 25 K $ 36 K $ 47 K
4 $ 27 K $ 37 K $ 49 K
1-4 combined $ 24 K $ 34 K $ 50 K
5 (did not apply for need-based aid) $ 12 K $ 22 K $ 26 K

Table 6: Mean total debt by Family Resources Group - Including those with none

Family Resources Group Entry Res, Degree Res Entry Non-res, Degree Res Entry Non-res, Degree Non-res
1 (lowest) $ 18 K $ 33 K $ 42 K
2 $ 19 K $ 27 K $ 52 K
3 $ 21 K $ 33 K $ 42 K
4 $ 16 K $ 32 K $ 43 K
1-4 combined $ 18 K $ 31 K $ 44 K
5 (did not apply for need-based aid) $  2  K $  4  K $  2  K

Perry Sailor - L:\ir\emgt\fa\cumdebt.doc

Last revision 01/03/05


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