MO Student Loans Lower than National Average

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JEFFERSON CITY- On the first Monday after University of Missouri students graduated, paying off student loans became a reality. According to an estimate by FinAid and FastWeb, total student loan debt passed total credic card debt for the first time in 2010.

However, according to Leanne Cardwell, assistant commissioner at the Missouri Department of Higher Education, Missouri students are in better shape than other states. Cardwell said that on average Missouri students graduate with an average debt of $21,000 for their bachelors degree, which is lower than the national average of $24,000.

Missouri students are also less likely to default on their student debts. Cardwell said that 5.8% of Missouri students default on their student loans, whereas the national average is 7%.

Cardwell said that there has been a significant spike in the number of students taking out loans to pay for school. She said this is due to a number of reasons, including the economy. Cardwell said more students are not able to find jobs after graduation and return to school, consequently taking out more loans. She also said state funding has significantly decreased in the past years.