decorative banner image

Cumulative Median Debt


The Office of Higher Education collects cumulative median debt data on graduates from Minnesota institutions to measure how much students borrowed to obtain their postsecondary award. Cumulative median debt is only reported for graduates that completed a postsecondary award at the institution conferring the award. The debt figures include combined debt from federal, state, and private sources known to the institutions. Data does not include any debt a student may have incurred by attending an institution other than that conferring the award. In addition, graduates with no debt are not included in the median.

Data trends show that the award type received affects the amount of a graduates' cumulative median debt. Since 2012, cumulative median debt declined slightly across all undergraduate awards. Over the same period, student loan debt increased for graduate awards above the master’s degree. Other findings include:

  • Fewer students, across all award types, borrowed to finance their postsecondary education.
  • Student debt amounts increased as the award type and the length of the program increased.
  • Associate and bachelor's degrees graduates who attended for-profit institutions typically had higher median student loan debt rates than graduates from public and private non-profit institutions.
  • Minnesota's federal student loan default rate continues to stay below the national rate and that of neighboring states.
  • States with higher educated populations also have lower default rates.

Average Cumulative Median Debt

When cumulative median debt is aggregated across multiple institutions, the measure reported is the average cumulative median debt. This is the weighted average (by number of borrowing graduates) of the cumulative median debt across each institution. The amount borrowed varies by award level. The interactive chart below displays cumulative median debt and percentages of graduates borrowing by award received at the institutional sector level. Use the drop-down menu at the top of the chart to select the sector of interest.

Tableau User Guide

Cumulative Median Debt by Institution

Borrowing also varied by institution. The following interactive table displays cumulative median debt and percentages of graduates borrowing at the institution level. Use the drop-down menu at the top of the table to select the sector that corresponds with the institution of interest.

Tableau User Guide

Report