The Project on Student Debt is out with its annual report, and the news is not good for students at Rhode Island's colleges and universities.
According to the report, students graduating from local institutions in 2013 had the fourth highest debt burdens in the country, averaging $31,561. Rhode Island's rank worsened from fifth highest for the class of 2012, when the average for student loans stood at $31,156.
The national average for student debt was $28,400.
Recent college graduates in Rhode Island have some of the highest loan burdens in the country, according to a national study called the Project on Student Debt. At the same time, Rhode Island faces consistently high unemployment and a sluggish economy.
All that made me wonder what it’s like to finish college with significant debt, so I set out to meet some of the graduates facing this problem and the experts who study it. I’ve been amazed by the response to their stories.
In the final installment of our series Paying For It: Rhode Islanders Struggle with Student Debt, education reporter Elisabeth Harrison visits the Rhode Island Student Loan Authority to speak with Executive Director Charlie Kelley. She asked him to walk through the payment system for a student who has borrowed $31,000, about the average for recent graduates in Rhode Island.
Colleges all across Rhode Island hold graduation ceremonies this month, and many of their students will receive diplomas and then face thousands of dollars in student loans.
As we continue our series Paying For It: Rhode Islanders Struggle with Student Debt, Rhode Island Public Radio’s Elisabeth Harrison looked at how mounting student loans are impacting students and the decisions they make about their future.