The average college student who graduated in 2011 had $26,600 in student loans, according to a new report, which estimates two-thirds of last year’s college graduates had student loan debt.
The average debt is the largest since the Institute for College Access and Success began compiling the figures in 2005, and it comes amid soaring college costs, record loan defaults, and a persistently difficult job market for college graduates.
While unemployment among college graduates is only slightly higher than the overall rate, the study found a stunning 37.8 percent of recent graduates are working in jobs that do not require a college degree. The study said that means wages are depressed, making the situation for graduates even more difficult.
The report cites recent U.S. Department of Education Data which show the federal student loan default rate at its highest level in 14 years. The New York Federal Reserve recently reported more than five million student loan borrowers have at least one loan past due.