11:32am

Mon July 23, 2012
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Tennesse Student College Loan Debt Relatively Low

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  Tennessee generally scores poorly on education-related “best of” lists, but there are exceptions. The state fares well when the subject turns to student loan debt.

USA Today notes that total student debt in the U.S. has now passed the $1 trillion mark, for the first time exceeding the nation’s credit-card debt.

When it comes to outstanding college loans, Tennessee is ranked 46th in the nation by the Project on Student Debt. The project reports that the average Tennessee college student borrows about $20,000. The national average is more than $25,000.

Private King College in Bristol reports 95 percent of its students take out school loans, the highest rate in the state. The average Freed-Hardeman University graduate will leave the West Tennessee school owing more than $34,000.

Public schools report significant - but generally lower - rates of student debt on average.  Just 21 percent of students enrolled at the University of Memphis have taken out student loans. However, 80 percent of students attending East Tennessee State will graduate in debt.