Michigan Tech Students Borrow Less Than National Average

By Jennifer Donovan | Published

More than ever in today's economic climate, student loans are a fact of life, and they're getting a lot of media attention. Last week alone, the Chronicle of Higher Education published a thorough analysis of who is borrowing and how much. US News & World Report examined which colleges leave students with the most debt, concluding that it is the for-profit providers such as the University of Phoenix. And newspapers all over the nation, from the Los Angeles Times to the Boston Globe, published hand-wringing features about students going ever deeper in debt.

The average amount of debt Tech students carry at graduation has risen only slightly from 2005-06 to 2008-09, from $13,587 to $14,100. That's well below the national average. In 2007, the average student graduating from a public college or university owed $18,482, according to the Project on Student Debt, a nonprofit research and policy group.

In its rankings of undergraduate colleges and universities, for the past three years, US News & World Report has ranked Michigan Tech as one of the schools with the lowest average student debt.

"Our students are not only borrowing less, they are preparing for higher-than-average paying careers," said Michigan Tech President Glenn D. Mroz. "A high percentage of them are entering the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields, where they can expect to earn considerably more than the average college graduate."

Although the percentage of Michigan Tech students who borrow has risen--from 59 percent in 2004-05 to 71 percent in 2008-09--it's in line with the national average of 65 percent.

As more students and their families experience financial pressure arising from the economic downturn, Michigan Tech's financial aid office has responded. It has invited students who are experiencing difficulty paying their tuition and fees to come in for free counseling and assistance in locating additional resources.

"We are committed to making it possible for all qualified students to attend Michigan Tech, regardless of financial circumstances," Mroz explained.

Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than 7,000 students from 60 countries. Founded in 1885, the University offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, and social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway and is just a few miles from Lake Superior.