N.J. lands in nation’s Top 10 for highest student debt, according to report

Just when costs in New Jersey couldn’t get any higher …

The Garden State ranks with Washington, D.C., Pennsylvania, Delaware and Connecticut in the Top 10 of a new report detailing the highest student debt figures by state.

LendEDU released its fourth annual Student Debt by School by State Report for 2019. In the report, LendEDU lists student loan debt figures at nearly 1,000 four-year private and public higher education institutions across the United States.

New Jersey ranks 45th out of 50 states and Washington, D.C., on the list of average student debt by state, with the average student loan debt per borrower for New Jersey being $33,593. Utah ranks first with its average of $19,742.

The study also found that 64% of New Jersey college students graduate with student debt.

Out of all the private and public universities ranked in the study, however, three New Jersey universities managed to secure a spot in the Overall Top 250 Lowest Debt category:

No. 9: Princeton University, $9,059;
No. 152: Drew University, $23,619;
No. 224: Montclair State University, $25,597.

Among the ranks of colleges and universities in the Overall Top 250 Highest Debt category, eight New Jersey institutions made the list:

No. 39: New Jersey Institute of Technology, $42,009;
No. 64: Stevens Institute of Technology $40,588;
No. 98: The College of New Jersey, $38,937;
No. 131: Georgian Court University, $37,502;
No. 165: Rider University, $36,499;
No. 199: Rowan University, $35,542;
No. 216: Ramapo College of New Jersey, $35,272;
No. 237: Stockton University, $34,735.

Somewhere in between these lists fall New Jersey City University at an overall rank of No. 349, Rutgers University-Newark at No. 408, William Paterson University at No. 498, Rutgers University-Camden at No. 508, Kean University at No. 598 and Rutgers University-New Brunswick at No. 634.

When breaking down the lists between private and public institutions, 11 of the state’s colleges and universities are ranked among the Public Top 150 Highest Debt figures:

No. 5: New Jersey Institute of Technology, $42,009;
No. 17: The College of New Jersey, $38,937;
No. 38: Rowan University, $35,542;
No. 43: Ramapo College of New Jersey, $35,272;
No. 46: Stockton University, $34,735;
No. 51: Rutgers University-New Brunswick, $34,113;
No. 60: Kean University, $33,407;
No. 90: Rutgers University-Camden, $31,307;
No. 92: William Paterson University of New Jersey, $31,105;
No. 128: Rutgers University-Newark, $29,125;
No. 144: New Jersey City University, $28,538.

Two of the state’s schools, Monmouth University and Caldwell University, were removed from the study due to a reporting discrepancy between the institutions and Peterson’s financial aid data.

Other key observations of the study include:

  • The $277 increase of the average debt by borrower, from $28,288 in 2017 to $28,565 in 2018;
  • The $329 increase of the average graduate’s student debt figure when including those with no student loans, from $16,320 in 2017 to $16,649 in 2018;
  • The slight decrease in the percentage of graduates from the Class of 2018 at nonprofit four-year public and private colleges who had student loan debt, at 56.99% compared with 57.96% from the Class of 2017.

LendEDU’s report was created using the newest Peterson’s financial aid data. Peterson’s released the new data for the Class of 2018 at the start of August 2019. The data was reported through a voluntary survey to the colleges and universities listed in the report.

The universities and colleges included in this study are limited to four-year colleges, comprehensive higher education institutions and universities.