10 colleges where graduates have high debt

Students at Wesleyan University
Joanne Rathe | The Boston Globe | Getty Images
Students at Wesleyan University

In the years after college, graduates may forget the names of their professors or even some of the classes they took. One thing many won't forget, however, is how much they owe.

Nearly 70 percent of 2015 graduates from public and private nonprofit schools had student debt, according to a 2016 report from the Institute for College Access and Success. And it can take graduates years, or even decades, to pay it off.

At some schools – such as Louisiana's Grambling State University, where 99 percent of 2015 grads borrowed – the student debt load can be especially high. The average debt among student borrowers at Grambling was $51,887, the highest average debt load for the Class of 2015 among 1,020 ranked institutions that submitted these data to U.S. News.

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Of the 10 schools where graduates who borrowed had the most debt, Wesleyan College in Georgia had the fewest students who borrowed – 43 percent – and Dillard University in Louisiana had the most at 100 percent.

Only one National University made the list: Stevens Institute of Technology. At the New Jersey school, 75 percent of the Class of 2015 borrowed to pay for college, according to U.S. News data. The average need-based scholarship or grant for all Stevens undergrads was $12,723, and 63 percent of all full-time students received some form of need-based financial aid.

Among borrowers at all 1,020 ranked schools that submitted these data to U.S. News, those from Missouri's College of the Ozarks carried the least debt: $5,339. The college has a work-education program that allows students to reduce the cost of tuition and fees through on-campus jobs. Just 1 percent of graduates from Judson University, a Regional University in Illinois, carried debt – the lowest percentage of all schools.

Here are the 10 schools where 2015 graduates who borrowed for undergraduate programs had the highest average debt. Unranked schools, which did not meet certain criteria required by U.S. News to be numerically ranked, were not considered for this report.

1. Grambling State University (LA)

2. Maine Maritime Academy

3. Wesleyan College (GA)

4. Stevens Institute of Technology (NJ)

5. Post University (CT)

6. Quinnipiac University (CT)

7. Sacred Heart University (CT)

8. Mount Ida College (MA)

9. Dillard University (LA)

10. Tabor College (KS)