Purdue student and parent borrowing down four years running

Published November 2016

Nationally, student debt has nearly tripled since 2006 — the 43 million Americans with student debt now share a nearly $1.3 trillion load. (To put it in perspective, the only type of private debt that exceeds that amount is home mortgages.)

But at Purdue, that picture looks dramatically different. Thanks in part to a series of measures that began with the launch of Purdue Moves in fall 2013, including a virtually unprecedented tuition freeze, reduced room and board rates, a new kind of partnership with Amazon to reduce textbook and supply costs, and increased financial literacy training, student and parent borrowing at Purdue is down 30 percent since 2012. That reduction has left them with some $55 million more to invest in other dreams.

Boilermakers beat national default rates, debt averages

Loan default rates

Furthermore, former Purdue students' average three-year cohort default rate is 2.7 percent compared to 7.3 percent for four-year public universities. For students who go on to graduate from Purdue, the cohort default rate is even lower, at 1 percent.

Beyond the obvious effects this reduction in borrowing has had on Purdue students and their families, this is good news for the rest of us, too: Evidence increasingly shows that students with large sums of education debt are more likely to delay vital life decisions that affect our economy as a whole, such as home buying, marriage, parenthood, entrepreneurial ventures and, yes, moving out of Mom and Dad's basement.

Average student debt infographic

In contrast, graduates with lower debt loads (Purdue students graduating with debt, on average, owe about $27,500 at graduation, 20 percent below the national average of about $35,000) are significantly less likely to delay these important decisions.

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