Who Borrows the Most for College?

Last Updated Jul 2, 2010 12:36 PM EDT

Who borrows the most for college?closeup of dollar bill
That's the question that the College Board tried to answer with its latest student debt report.

You might be surprised at some of the conclusions that the College Board made about college debt. For instance, it's not the lowest-income families who borrow the most for college.

Here's a rundown on who is borrowing for college and who isn't:

  • Seventeen percent of college students who graduated in 2007-08 left school with more than $30,500 in college debt.
  • Students from families earning $100,000 or more are more likely to borrow through private student loans, which are the least desirable type of college loan. It's far better to stick with federal student loans. Shockingly, 70% of the debt from families with incomes of $100,000 or higher is through private loans.
  • Asian students are the most likely to turn to private student loans.
  • Asian students are also the most likely to skip federal student loans entirely and instead borrow through the more expensive private student loans.
  • Two-thirds of students who graduate with a bachelor's degree leave with college debt. And 25% of these students borrowed $30,500 or more.
  • One out of three students who earn a bachelor's degree graduate without any college debt.
  • More than half of students who graduate from low-cost community colleges leave with debt. Ten percent of these students graduated with more than $20,400 in student loans.
  • Students who attend for-profit colleges leave with the most staggering student loan debt. Fifty three percent of students at these schools borrowed $30,500 or more compared to 12% for students who attended state universities.
There is nothing wrong with borrowing for college, but what often catapults students into trouble is borrowing too much. And yet without knowing how much money a graduate will eventually earn is difficult to pinpoint.

Students are far less likely to get into financial trouble with their college debt if they only borrow through federal students loans.

Lynn O'Shaughnessy is the author of The College Solution, an Amazon bestseller, and she also writes for TheCollegeSolutionBlog. Follow her on Twitter.