These 20 Schools Are Responsible for 20% of All Graduate Student Debt
Posted By Terri Williams on August 25, 2015 at 3:14 pm
According to the Center for American Progress (CAP), twenty schools received one-fifth of all the money the government gave graduate students in the last academic year. Although only 12% of graduate students attend one of these 20 institutions, they received $6.5 billion, or 20% of all federal funds for post-graduate studies.
Below are the 20 schools that received the most student loan dollars from graduate students during the 2013-2014 academic year. The list contains one public university (Rutgers) – the rest are private or for-profit institutions.
|2||Nova Southeastern University||$532,479,305|
|3||University of Phoenix||$493,078,509|
|4||New York University||$471,627,155|
|5||University of Southern California||$460,167,597|
|9||Grand Canyon University||$329,153,677|
|12||St. George’s University, School of Medicine (Grenada)||$241,203,227|
|14||Ross University School of Medicine (Dominica)||$218,874,479|
|17||George Washington University||$206,524,570|
|19||Rutger, the State University of New Jersey||$192,355,258|
|20||Western University of Health Sciences||$185,081,134|
Despite the staggering amount of debt at the post-graduate level, a report by New America reveals that most graduate debt is not for “high cost credentials” like a medical or law degree. New America breaks down the percentage of students pursuing graduate degrees as follows:
|5%||Medicine and Health Sciences (Medicine, Pharmacy, Dentistry, etc.)|
|8%||Master of Arts|
|11%||Master of Business Administration|
|15%||Other Master’s Degrees (Public Policy, Social Work, etc)|
|16%||Master of Education|
|18%||Master of Science|
The Washington Post notes that the two foreign medical schools on the list, which are in Grenada and Dominica, are often used as an alternative for students rejected from America’s top medical programs, although the tuition at these schools is still comparable to what a student would pay at a prestigious U.S. medical school.
Graduate students account for a disproportionate amount of federal education dollars. Only 20% of college students are in graduate school, but they account for 40% of total student loan debt.
So – why is the debt load for graduate students so high? According to Adam Ruben, the author of “Surviving Your Stupid, Stupid Decision to Go to Grad School,” students who work to support themselves through school are not able to devote all of their time to studying, and it may take them 10 years to get a PhD. To avoid this, Ruben says, “some students put themselves massively in debt – or they may receive a stipend that essentially covers their basic needs.”
In 2014, Angelique Pivoine, an SEO & PR Specialist at 911 Restoration in Van Nuys, CA, applied for PhD programs in Intellectual History. She says many students attend graduate school in part to defer payment on their undergraduate student loans. Even for students who get a stipend, Pivoine says it is barely enough to scrape by. “And remember that you are forgoing 5 years of income progress,” she adds. “I applied to grad school because I enjoyed research, saved $2,000 for the application process, and had no student loan debt.”
Some students pursue a graduate degree to gain an edge on the competition or to increase their earning potential, and believe the return on investment justifies the cost. Employees with a graduate degree typically earn more than their peers who only have a bachelor’s degree, although the amount varies by major.