The Debt Load of the 2015 Graduating Class

On May 8, 2015, Jeffrey Sparshott’s article “Congratulations, Class of 2015. You Are the Most Indebted Ever {For Now)” was published in the Wall Street Journal []. The article draws on a report produced by Edvisors [], a website that provides a broad variety of resources on financial aid, including loans, for prospective and current students and even graduates who are managing their student-loan debt.

The report and article include the following three very telling charts:


Average Debt per Borrower 2015


Percentage of Students with Loans


Total Debt of Students and Parents



Education Dive provides a succinct summary of this data: “The average borrower in the Class of 2015 will be responsible for paying back $35,000 and 17% of these grads have parents who took out $30,687 on their behalf, on average. Student loan debt has increased by more than 10 times since 1994” []

Such data clearly undercuts the arguments of those who have been trying to minimize the scope and the economic impact of the student-debt issue. Indeed, Sparshott elaborates on the parenthetical element of the article’s title, explaining why the average debt being carried by students and their parents will almost certainly increase again in 2016 and in subsequent years as well.


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