California college students' average debt among lowest in nation
Despite protests about rising tuition at California's public colleges, students in the state graduate with one of the lowest average loads of education debt in the nation, according to a new study.
The Cal Grant financial aid program and the relatively low tuition at the California State University system helped rank California as third from the bottom in the country for the amount of debt owed by 2011 graduates from schools here, said the report by the Oakland-based Institute for College Access and Success.
Just 51% of graduates from California's public and private nonprofit colleges took on student debt, compared with 66% nationwide, and those loan totals averaged $18,879, which was about $7,700 below the national average.
Only students in Utah, $17,227, and Hawaii, $17,447, had smaller loan totals, the survey found. The high debt states were clustered in the Northeast and Midwest, with New Hampshire, $32,440, and Pennsylvania, $29,959, at the top.