Student loans make college more affordable for many students. OHE collects cumulative median debt from institutions as a measure of how much student debt recent graduates leave with. Cumulative median debt is only reported for students that completed a postsecondary credential at the given institution. The debt figures include debt from federal, state, and private sources that is known to the institutions. Debt incurred from previous institutions is not included. In addition, students with no debt are not included in the median.
The data shows that graduates' cumulative median debt trends vary based on award type. Since 2012, cumulative median debt declined across all undergraduate awards. Over the same period, student loan debt increased across all graduate awards (except for master's degrees). Other findings in the data include:
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. The interactive chart below displays cumulative median debt and percentages of graduates borrowing by award at the sector level. Use the drop-down menu at the top of the chart to select the sector of interest.
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.