About one out of five (19%) of the nation’s households owed student debt in 2010, more than double the share two decades earlier and a significant rise from the 15% that owed such debt in 2007. A record 40% of all households headed by someone younger than age 35 owed student debt in 2010.
The issue of costs and rising student debt have have touched off a national debate about the cost and value of a college education. Surveys by the Pew Research Center present this portrait of the views of the general public and college graduates on these issues.
At a time when women surpass men by record numbers in college enrollment and completion, they also have a more positive view than men about the value higher education provides.
College costs are rising, student debt is mounting, and most Americans say college fails to deliver good value for the money. Meantime, only 19% of college presidents say the U.S. system is the best in the world. However, more than eight-in-ten college graduates say college was a good investment for them personally.
Graduates who received a bachelor’s degree in 2008 borrowed 50% more than their counterparts who graduated in 1996, while graduates who earned an associate’s degree or undergraduate certificate in 2008 borrowed more than twice what their counterparts in 1996 had borrowed.