Student Debt Increase: How Much Will You Owe?


Le Moyne College 2016 graduates that borrowed had an average student loan debt of $37,337.

This number is an approximate 6.4 percent increase from the previous year, which showed that the undergraduate borrower owed $34,941 in student loans upon graduating during the 2014-2015 academic year.

According to the Le Moyne College Common Data Set, the average undergraduate borrower owed $37,337 in student loans after a four-year period upon graduating during the 2015-2016 academic year at Le Moyne College.

In fact, the national average of student loan debt has increased from the 2014-2015 to the 2015-2016 academic year as well. According to The Wall Street Journal and Market Watch, the undergraduate class of 2015 graduated with an average of $35,051 in student debt. The following year, the undergraduate class of 2016 graduated with a national average of $37,173 in student debt, according to CBS MoneyWatch and Student Loan Hero. This concludes that the national average increased from 2015 to 2016 graduates about approximately 5.7 percent.

The student debt increase at Le Moyne College is slightly higher in comparison to the national average. Mark Kantrowitz, a student financial aid expert, wrote an article for the TIME website explaining that the average national increase of college tuitions may have something to do with this jumping increase of student loan debt.

“Student loan debt is increasing because government grants and support for postsecondary education have failed to keep pace with increases in college costs,” Kantrowitz said. “This has shifted much of the burden of paying for college from the federal and state governments to families. The government no longer carries its fair share of college costs, even though it gets a big increase in income tax revenue from college graduates.”

From the 2014-2015 academic year to the 2015-2016 year, the price in tuition increased $2,122, demonstrating this 6.4 percent increase.

The Department of Financial Aid at Le Moyne College believes that there may be other instances that would cause an increase in student debt in particular to the college.

Sharon Haplin, Director of the Financial Aid Department, and Kelly Kelly, Assistant Director of the Financial Aid Department, state that there are other possibilities leading to this increase. These include a variety of students that take out different ranges of loans and the introduction to new undergraduate programs for second bachelor’s degrees.

“There is such a wide variety of students on campus that have many different payment plans in order to pay Le Moyne’s tuition,” Haplin explains. For example, some students get tuition from scholarships, working part-time, working full-time, taking out federal loans, private loans with or without co-signers, etc. The amount each student might take out per loan may differ as well, affecting the amount of student debt. Some students may take out more loans than others.

“Loans can be a necessity in some situations,” Kelly explains. “Figuring out payment plans is a hot topic in the sense that it’s a very sensitive and difficult subject.”

Both Halpin and Kelly advise students to look carefully through other options and resources before looking to take out loans.

Another possibility that may have led to the 6.4 percent increase in student debt deals with the relatively new Accelerated Dual Degree Partnership in Nursing [A-DDPN] program, and other programs similar to it, as stated by Haplin.

According to the Le Moyne College Catalog, the A-DDPN is a program in partnership with St. Joseph’s College of Nursing, consisting of 18-months designed for students with a bachelor’s degree in another field, but pursuing a nursing education for a career. Because the A-DDPN is an undergraduate program, it falls under the criteria dealing with this increase of student loan debt.

“This program is considered a second bachelor’s where financial aid is not given out,” Haplin said. Students have to find their own means to pay for the program, i.e. student loans.