That’s the sobering claim of a July 9, 2012 press release from the group Accounting Principles, a recruitment and placement outfit. They polled recent grads with a four-year degree about their debt, salary, disposable income, and finance knowledge as a recent graduate. The telephone survey was conducted from May 25 – June 2, 2012 and included 507 graduates of a four-year degree program between the ages of 22-26. An excerpt:
According to Accounting Principals’ survey a majority (68 percent) of recent graduates are leaving school with an average of nearly $40,000 of debt. Most of this debt has been accrued through student loans ($27,029); however, recent graduates also leaned heavily on other debt – like credit cards – to get them through college, amassing an average of $12,742 of non-student loan debt upon graduating.
The only question I have about this survey is whether their sample represents the wider population. For example, they found that “83 percent of those surveyed cannot afford all of the basic living necessities including groceries, rent, cell phone, car, and student loan repayments.” That seems crazy high. Maybe.
Either way, the student loan figure seems on the mark. The last figure we had for average student debt at graduation was $25,250 for the class of 2010. Since the Accounting Principles survey included recent graduates, I wonder if some of them aren’t paying their student loans, and experiencing compounding interest. The best numbers to compare, I think, are average and median student loan debt at graduation. Has that $25,250 figure gone up for the class of 2011 and 2012? Probably. How much? I’ve not seen that data.