Texas Undergraduate Debts Grow 53% in Ten Years

The average amount borrowed by Texas undergraduates who used loans to help finance their bachelor’s degrees increased 53% from 2004 to 2014, surging from $17,170 to $26,250. This is nearly double Texas’ 28% inflation rate during this period. The percentage of Texas undergraduates who borrowed also rose, from 51% in 2004 to 59% in 2014.

This according to an October report from the Project on Student Debt entitled Student Debt and the Class of 2014The Project on Student Debt is an initiative of the nonprofit Institute for College Access and Success. It works to increase public understanding of student debt and its impact on families, the economy, and society.

Nationally, the percentage of undergraduates who borrowed climbed only 4% from 2004 to 2014 (65% to 69%), but the average amount they borrowed escalated 56% — from $18,550 in 2004 to $28,950 in 2014.

The Project on Student Debt also provides undergraduate borrowing data on a school-by-school basis for each state. These data are the basis for lists (included below) of Texas’ ten highest and lowest debt schools for 2014 in the public and private non-profit sectors of higher education.

At least, these are the highest and lowest debt schools The Project on Student Debt could identify in Texas. Half of the state’s institutions of higher learning — accounting for 27% of the Lone Star state’s 2014 bachelor’s degree earners — did not make their 2014 student borrowing data available. These include some of the state’s largest and best-known schools – for example, Baylor University, Lamar University, St. Mary’s University, Texas Woman’s University, and the University of North Texas.

No law requires colleges and universities to provide the debt levels of their students. But why would they withhold such information? Perhaps they are worried about its impact on their freshman recruiting efforts.

Recommendation: No matter what the reason, if a school has not disclosed its student borrowing data, be a smart consumer and demand these numbers before making any commitment to attend that school — especially if you already know your student might need to borrow while working toward his or her degree. Student debt should not be the sole basis on which you select a college or university, nor should you be afraid to borrow if necessary. But student debt is growing so fast that it should be one of the factors you take into account.

Highest and Lowest Debt Texas Colleges and Universities 2014 by Institution: Average Debt of Graduates/Percent of Graduates Who Borrowed

Highest Debt Texas Public Colleges and Universities 2014

  1. Texas Southern University: $43,600/95%
  2. Sam Houston State University: $31,433/71%
  3. Prairie View A & M University: $27,500/67%
  4. The University of Texas at San Antonio: $27,337/66%
  5. Stephen F Austin State University: $27,278/66%
  6. The University of Texas at Austin*: $27,207/55%
  7. Texas A&M University Corpus Christi: $26,445/69%
  8. Tarleton State University: $26,267/64%
  9. Texas State University: $26,031/64%
  10. Midwestern State University: $25,550/67%

Lowest Debt Texas Public Colleges and Universities 2014

  1. The University of Texas Pan American: $14,900/61%
  2. Texas A&M International University: $17,394/74%
  3. University of Houston Main Campus: $18,453/48%
  4. The University of Texas at Dallas: $19,613/48%
  5. West Texas A&M University: $20,682/59%
  6. The University of Texas at Arlington: $23,210/58%
  7. University of Houston Downtown: $23,249/57%
  8. Texas A&M University College Station: $23,703/47%
  9. The University of Texas at El Paso: $24,000/67%
  10. Texas Tech University: $25,306/56%

Highest Debt Texas Private Non-Profit Colleges and Universities 2014

  1. Abilene Christian University: $43,841/67%
  2. Texas Christian University: $39,584/43%
  3. LeTourneau University: $38,211/76%
  4. Mary Hardin-Baylor University: $37,048/90%
  5. Texas Wesleyan University: $37,014/92%
  6. University of St Thomas: $36,497/57%
  7. University of Dallas: $35,561/61%
  8. Trinity University: $35,318/50%
  9. Hardin-Simmons University: $34,800/75%
  10. McMurry University: $34,742/90%

Lowest Debt Texas Private Non-Profit Colleges and Universities 2014

  1. Rice University: $22,241/29%
  2. Concordia University: $24,882/75%
  3. Wayland Baptist University: $25,725/71%
  4. Lubbock Christian University: $27,949/78%
  5. Dallas Baptist University: $28,279/80%
  6. Our Lady of the Lake University: $28,362/84%
  7. Schreiner University: $29,364/87%
  8. Incarnate Word University: $29,744/82%
  9. East Texas Baptist University: $30,718/88%
  10. Southwestern University: $30,935/60%

Author: Tom Melecki, PhD

Next – What Does Student Loan Debt Really Cost?

* Disclosure: The author is an alumnus of UT Austin and previously served as UT Austin’s director of student financial services.