Cumulative Debt of Bachelor’s Degree Recipients by Dependency Status and Family Income over Time

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Independent students are more likely to borrow and tend to borrow more than dependent students. In 2011-12, 11% of dependent and 27% of independent bachelor’s degree recipients graduated with $40,000 or more in debt.

Figure 2014_14B:Cumulative Debt of 2011-12 Bachelor’s Degree Recipients by Dependency Status and Parent Income

Figure 14B represents Cumulative Debt of 2011-12 Bachelor’s Degree Recipients by Dependency Status and Parent Income.  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 dependent bachelor’s degree recipients in each income bracket and percentages of all bachelor’s degree recipients in each dependency category. Income categories represent quartiles of all dependent undergraduate students. Income categories are: lowest: less than $30,000; second: $30,000 to $64,999; third: $65,000 to $105,999; highest: $106,000 or higher. Includes students who were U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Includes both federal and nonfederal borrowing. Percentages may not sum to 100 because of rounding.

SOURCE: NCES, National Postsecondary Student Aid Study, 2012.

  • Dependent students from higher-income families are less likely to borrow than those from lower-income families, but 2011-12 bachelor’s degree recipients from the two middle income quartiles were slightly more likely than the lowest-income students to borrow $40,000 or more.
  • The proportion of all bachelor’s degrees that were awarded by the for-profit sector increased from 3% in 2003-04 to 8% in 2011-12.