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DiNapoli: College student loan debt doubled in New York over past decade

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Tue, Sep 20th 2016 05:25 pm

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli released a report on student loan debt, which found the average New Yorker with college loans owed $32,200 in 2015, higher than the national average of $29,700. In New York, student loan debt more than doubled during the past decade, growing to $82 billion from $39 billion, an increase of 112 percent.

"New Yorkers from all walks of life have found higher education the path to a more satisfying and secure life. But many who take out student loans face real difficulties in paying back their debts," DiNapoli said. "New Yorkers saddled with college debt have less disposable income and often have to push off buying a home or saving for the future. Such struggles have implications not only for those individuals and families with such debt, but also for the state's economy."

The number of students taking out loans rose sharply in New York over the past 10 years by more than 41 percent to 2.8 million. Nationwide, borrowing for school during this same period rose by nearly 60 percent to 43.7 million.

Student loans represented 11.4 percent of the $722 billion outstanding consumer (or household) debt in New York in 2015. Figures on student loans do not include other debt families and individuals incur to pay for college, such as home equity loans, borrowing from retirement accounts or credit card debt.

Rising college costs were one factor in the growth of student loan debt. From 2005-06 through 2014-15, average costs for tuition, fees and room and board for four-year institutions rose by more than 50 percent for both in-state students attending public institutions and for private institutions in New York.

In 2005-06, the average cost in New York for undergraduate tuition, fees and room and board for New York residents at a public college was $13,275 versus $20,549 in 2014-15. In 2005-06, it was $32,478 for private colleges versus $48,845 in 2014-15.

While individuals' student loan debts vary significantly among local areas in New York, the report found individuals with higher loan balances were concentrated in downstate areas.

The proportion of student loan borrowers in New York and the nation whose payments were 90 or more days late rose over the past decade. The share of borrowers with late payments in New York jumped from 8.9 percent in 2006 to 14 percent by 2012, but fell to 12.5 percent in 2015, which was still substantially higher than in 2006. The rate of decrease in the state from 2012 to 2015 was almost twice that which occurred in the nation during this period.

Default rates for student loans declined in New York from 2012-14. DiNapoli's report found default rates varied dramatically depending on the type of school an individual attended. For instance, students who attended proprietary, or for-profit, schools were three times more likely to default on their loan than those who attended public or private nonprofit schools.

Read the report, or go to: http://www.osc.state.ny.us/reports/highered/student_loan_debt.pdf.

See specific local area average borrower balances and delinquency rates, or go to: http://www.osc.state.ny.us/reports/highered/student_loan_debt_appendix.pdf.

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