How Juniata’s Debt Adds Up

Rian Fantozzi, Editor-in-Chief

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In a report produced by LendEdu, Juniata College was ranked #747 out of 922 institutions for change in student loan indebtedness. The average debt per borrower at Juniata College increased by $17,232 from 2007 to 2017.

The report that Mike Brown of LendEdu emailed to this reporter details the changes that Juniata College and surrounding colleges have seen during this past decade. The source of the data was Peterson’s Research which is a College Data Collection services. LendEdu, which has 3,000 independent articles on higher education, compiled the data into the analysis presented here.

Of the four-year, not-for-profit colleges that submit their data to Peterson’s financial aid survey, Juniata College is ranked #747 out 922 institutions by percentage. Whereas overall the reporting private college student debt per borrower value decreased by 1% on average and a median of 3%, Juniata College’s average debt per borrower increased by 79.59%. This jumped the value from $21,426 per borrower in 2007 to $38,478 in 2017. By actual value, this ranks Juniata College at #822 out of #922.

The cost of college is climbing across the nation. The state of Pennsylvania has seen an increase of 51.26% percent in the average debt per borrower from 2007 to 2017. This results in a net change of $12,196, second only to Delaware at $16,944. Higher education costs inflate at a greater rate than other goods. According to a chart from the Economist using information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, FHFA, and Thomson Reuters, consumer prices have risen by nearly 360% from 1978 to 2010. However, the cost of college tuition and associated fees have risen by more than 1100% and books have risen by more than 800%.

According to Bloomberg the situation is dire; the total student loan debt in 2009 was $675 million. In 2019 that figure has “ballooned’ to $1.52 trillion. Imagine that ten million dollars covers an American football field. In 2009 the total debt would be larger than the total area of Germany. By 2019 the debt would have expanded to cover the Earth 1.6 times in a sea of football fields ten to twenty million dollars deep.

Peterson’s rankings do not fully encompass the four-year, not-for-profit class of institutions, and should be taken with a grain of salt. However, the actual change in debt, both average per borrower at Juniata and in the national picture, is alarming. This is the first in a series of many pieces covering the financial situation at Juniata College.