The last college scorecard is out. Here’s what that says about the amount parents borrow for higher education.
In the middle of a choir of calls for student debt cancellation, the U.S. Department of Education on Wednesday released new data that, for the first time, provides insight into the debt parents owe their children to go to college.
The bottom line about Federal Parent Loan PLUS borrowers: They are taking out loans that could have a serious financial impact on their finances.
A the Chronicle analysis of the data shows that in nearly 130 four-year institutions primarily offering bachelor’s degrees, the median amount borrowed by parents was $ 50,000 or more; most of these students attended small private colleges. Topping the list was Spelman College – for which parents of graduates borrowed an average of $ 112,127. Topping the list were dozens of public, private, not-for-profit and for-profit art and music institutions, as well as other liberal arts colleges.
Parents who took out loans of $ 50,000 and more had monthly payments of between $ 537 and – for Spelman borrowers – $ 1,205 per month, the data showed.
The data reflects the loans parents received under the PLUS program on behalf of undergraduate students who graduated in the 2017-18 and 2018-19 academic years.
the College Scorecard is a website designed to give prospective students and their parents information on how much debt students owe at individual institutions and how much they would earn in certain areas after graduation, between others. The addition of PLUS loan data to the scorecard is intended to provide “a more complete financial picture of how recent graduates have paid for their post-secondary education,” the ministry said in a statement.
According to the most recent federal data, 3.5 million parents nationwide have used the PLUS program to pay for their children’s school fees.
Here are three takeaways from the data on what it means to be a PLUS loan borrower:
Smaller private institutions – including historically black colleges and universities – tend to have some of the highest proportions of parents taking PLUS loans to fund their children’s education.
Among four-year colleges in general, a high level of participation in PLUS loans was around 15% or 20%. But some black colleges had at least double that share, according to the analysis.
At Clark University in Atlanta, for example, about 55 percent of parents have taken PLUS loans, according to the data, as have about half of parents of Spelman College and Hampton University graduates.
Meanwhile, at small private liberal arts institutions, like Ferrum College, Va., And Wesley College, Delaware, 40% of parents have taken PLUS loans. The median loan amount for the two colleges was almost $ 35,000. Thirty percent of parents of recent Georgetown College, Ky., And Monmouth College, Ill. Graduates used a PLUS loan at a median value of about $ 23,000.
Parents borrow large sums of money for children who end up dropping out.
Sometimes the road to college graduation doesn’t go smoothly, but the PLUS loan payments parents have to make don’t disappear. The analysis found that in both public and private schools, most parents of students who dropped out owed more than $ 10,000.
The amount of debt incurred by low-income borrowers to attend for-profit colleges varied widely.
Parents of for-profit college graduates who received a Pell Grant had median loans of up to $ 73,000 at the DigiPen Institute of Technology, in Redmond, Wash., And as low as $ 4,500 at National University College, in Puerto Rico. Parents of School of Visual Arts graduates in New York City had median loans of nearly $ 66,000; the median loan for Neumont College of Computer Science in Salt Lake City has exceeded $ 50,000.
At the other end of the spectrum were 13 establishments where median parental loans were less than $ 10,000.
The largest share of loans in the for-profit sector fell between $ 10,000 and $ 41,000.