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Graduate Debt


The Office of Higher Education collects graduate debt data from Minnesota institutions eligible to participate in a Minnesota-funded financial aid program to measure how much students borrow to fund their postsecondary education.

The Office reports the median debt graduates incurred to complete a postsecondary award only at the institution conferring the award for each award level. In other words, data does not include any debt a student may have incurred from previously attended institutions, and debt incurred to receive multiple awards is not combined. For example, debt reported for graduates with a master’s degree only includes debt incurred to receive a master’s degree at the institution where the student received the master’s degree. It does not include any other additional debt a student might have accumulated while completing their bachelor’s degree.

Data Trends

Data shows that the type of degree a graduate received effects the amount of their median debt. Since 2012, median debt declined slightly across all undergraduate awards. Over the same period, student loan debt increased for graduate awards above a 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.
  • Graduates with associate and bachelor’s degrees from for-profit institutions typically had higher median student loan debt 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 for graduates by award level. Graduates with no debt are not included in the calculation.

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