Numbers in this post come from from The Project on Student Debt. I can’t vouch for their accuracy myself, but assuming they are:
Which of these numbers do you think is more informative?
- Among college students in Iowa graduating with debt, the average amount owed was $28,174 (73% of students graduated with debt)
- Among all college students who graduated in Iowa last year, the average student owed $20,567?
Either way it’s a BAD number, and one of (if not THE) highest in the nation but it seems like the second way makes it easier to make comparisons between different states. For example, in California the average debt carried by students graduating with debt was $17,795, substantially lower to begin with, but apparently only 48% of students graduating in California had ANY debt, so the average California graduate had only $8,542 in debt.
The average Iowa graduates with 240% of the debt load of the average Californian, yet the first method shrinks that difference to 158% by not taking into account the higher number of Californians graduating with no debt at all.
The Project on Student Debt, reports their numbers using the first method, but I can’t figure out why.