Too bad the number of job opportunities for recent college grads isn’t rising nearly as fast.

Michael Stratford of Inside Higher Ed reports.

Average Student Debt Climbs, Again

The average debt that borrowers of student loans had at graduation continued to rise last year, climbing to $29,400 for the class of 2012, according to a new report released Wednesday by the Institute for College Access and Success (TICAS).
This year’s figure, based on TICAS calculations of federal data collected every four years, is up by more than 25 percent compared with the group’s $24,450 estimate for the class of 2008. (An earlier version of this paragraph incorrectly compared the 2012 average debt statistic with the 2011 figure. Such a comparison is inaccurate since the two figures are based on different sources of data.)

TICAS derives its estimates from the quadrennial federal data in combination with information that colleges report on a voluntary basis to an annual survey by Peterson’s college guide.

As in previous years, the report shows a wide variation in average student debt loads across different states and institutions. Delaware and New Hampshire lead the list of the highest-debt states, with average debt levels of $33,649 and $32,698, respectively. Meanwhile, New Mexico’s average student debt of $17,994 gives the state the distinction of the lowest-debt state. California was the second-lowest-debt state with $20,269.

The high-debt states remain concentrated in the Northeast and Midwest while lower-debt states were mostly in the West and South, the report says.