How has debt affected recent Minnesota university grads?

I've been hearing as recently as today that the average student debt upon graduation in Minnesota is something like $26,000.

Someone might want to tell that to MnSCU university students.

The Minnesota State University Student Association, the body that represents students at four-year MnSCU institutions, has just released its five-month survey of recent grads and how debt has affected them.

At 40 responses, the sample size is small. And most come from MSU - Moorhead and Winona State. But it's worth a look. And the numbers -- such as the average debt load being more than $30,000 -- are less than inspiring.

Here's the report's intro:

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As student debt continues to climb, more and more young people are saddled by obligations of the past and not able to move forward and bolster the economy of the future.  Each dollar that gets paid back in student debt is a dollar that could be spent to generate new economic opportunities for the student or for those affected by their purchasing decisions.  As wages continue to remain stagnant and the price of healthcare, housing, food and other essential items rise it is imperative to the success of the economy that young people have expendable income to act as the driving growth force they have been for previous generations.

Here are the numbers:

  • $30,682: The average public higher education debt load of the respondents.

  • $303: The average monthly student loan bill of the respondents.

  • 15 years: The average amount of time it will take the respondents to pay off their student loans.

  • 2006: The average graduation year of respondents.

  • 38: The number of respondents who worked while they attended college.

  • 9: The number of respondents are currently attending graduate school or law school.

  • 1: The number of respondents unemployed.

I'll be looking through the individual responses for insights, but you can read them yourself here. The association's Web page on the survey is here.