It is getting harder for a college student to finish college without taking on student loans. In the U.S., nearly 70 percent of bachelor’s degree recipients graduate with debt, and the average borrower takes out an average of $28,950 in loans. The total outstanding student loan debt has risen to $1.2 trillion in 2016, which is the second-highest level of consumer debt.

Missouri has an average of $25,844 debt per student, while the average student debt for MU is slightly lower.

Average student loan debt

Delaware has the highest average student debt amount. Utah ranks lowest with an average student loan debt of $18,921.

Student debt at MU and beyond

During school

The tuition fee and annual total cost for in-state students and out-of-state students keeps increasing. For in-state students, in 2013, tuition was about $23,000, but students enrolling at MU in the fall will pay $27,208.

Compared to the 2008-'09 school year, the growth rate of total federal loans received by undergraduates in the 2009-'10 school year is more than 21 percent, but the rate dropped significantly after that. Since the 2012-'13 school year, the amount decreased.

Growth rate of federal loans

Undergraduate cost for in-state students

Undergraduate cost for out-of-state students

Note: The university typically reports student loan debt by career. The data here just represents undergraduates.

Number of students with debt

The number of undergraduates receiving federal loans peaked in the 2011-'12 school year at 13,170.

Graduation and debt

About 55 percent of students graduated from MU with debt in 2015. In terms of graduation rates, MU is higher than the national average with a rate of 68.7 percent in 2015. The national graduation rate is 58.4 percent.

Years after graduation

Three-year cohort default rates

The U.S. Department of Education worked with Treasury Department data to determine the three-year cohort default rates. MU's performance is better than the national average.

Need help?

Here are some resources that may help:

Financial aid adviser at MU:

573-882-7506 or 800-225-6075

11 Jesse Hall

Office hours: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday through Friday

Sources: Student Financial Aid at the University of Missouri at Columbia; The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System; College Scorecard; and The Institute for College Access & Success

  • I am an outreach team member in Columbia Missourian as well as a MU journalism graduate student. I used to work as a reporter at Missourian and an assistant producer at Global Journalist.

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