When it comes to college debt California grads are doing better than most

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Photo by Parker Knight / Creative Commons/ Flickr

A new report shows that California’s college grads aren’t actually that bad off when it comes to student debt load. The Institute for College Access and Success recently published its yearly report called the “Project on Student Debt,” and in its survey of the class of 2012 found that Californians rank among the lowest.

Nationally, 70 percent of students in the class of 2012 had at least some debt. But of students who graduated from California schools, only 52 percent graduated with loans to repay. The burden on those students was also the second lowest in the country, at an average of $20,269, second only to New Mexico. California State University students at Sacramento and Bakersfield graduate, on average, with the 2nd and 3rd lowest debt burden in the nation.

The number of students (who graduated in 2012) who borrowed money increased to 71 percent, from 68 percent in 2008, and the average national debt also increased to $29,400. That’s the bad news.

This has prompted the Institute to include some recommendations for addressing the upward trend. It advocates congressional action that would double the maximum federal Pell grant, as well as calling for better promotion of income-driven repayment options. Improving unemployment numbers will hopefully help recent grads who are being weighed down by their college debt burden.

Though the report noted that unemployment for this demographic is down one percent from the year before to 7.7%, the bureau of labor statistics announced today that overall unemployment has fallen to 7.0%. Hopefully that includes recent grads looking to enter the job market and get out of the red.