Cumulative Debt of 2011-12 Bachelor’s Degree Recipients by Time Elapsed Between First Enrollment and Degree Completion

The amount of time students spend earning a bachelor’s degree is highly correlated with cumulative debt levels.

Figure 2015_17A: Cumulative Debt of 2011-12 Bachelor’s Degree Recipients by Time Elapsed Between First Enrollment and Degree Completion

Figure 17A represents Cumulative Debt of 2011-12 Bachelor’s Degree Recipients by Time Elapsed Between First Enrollment and Degree Completion. For a corresponding Section 508-compliant data table, see http://trends.collegeboard.org/student-aid.

Notes & Sources 

NOTES: Percentages on the vertical axis are percentages of bachelor’s degree recipients in each category. Includes: 1) 2011-12 bachelor’s degree recipients regardless of when they first enrolled, 2) students who were U.S. citizens or permanent residents, and 3) both federal and nonfederal borrowing. Percentages may not sum to 100 because of rounding. 

SOURCES: NCES, National Postsecondary Student Aid Study, 2012; PowerStats calculations by the authors.

  • Among students who earned bachelor’s degrees in 2011-12, 19% of those who completed their degrees within four years borrowed $30,000 or more.
  • In contrast, 33% of those who completed their degrees six years after first enrolling and more than 40% of those who completed their degrees seven or more years after first enrolling borrowed at this level.