HBCU’s Top The List For Students Graduating With Highest Debt

The U.S. News Short List For Schools Whose Alumni Are Graduating With The Highest Debt Shows HBCU's Topping The List

The nationally acclaimed US News & World Report’s famous college lists showcase anything from the colleges with the most distinguished faculty to the colleges with the most parties. Its recent list, The U.S. News Short List, is a regular series that magnifies individual data points in hopes of providing students and parents a way to find which undergraduate or graduate programs excel or have room to grow in specific areas. In its recent Short List series, the publication released the top 10 colleges where students graduated with the most debt in 2011. Out of the 10 schools, four of them are HBCU’s: Clark Atlanta University, John C. Smith University, Bennett College, and Delaware State University — with Clark Atlanta University topping the list among the HBCU’s whose students graduated with the highest debt last year.

Most students do not take on six-figure debt to go to college, a new study by financial aid expert Mark Kantrowitz has found. But, according to school-reported data, some students are still leaving college with much higher levels of debt than the national average. Students who borrowed for college and graduated in 2011 left owing $26,224 on average, based on statistics reported by 1,035 schools in an annual survey to U.S. News. For graduating classes with the highest average debt, student balances were roughly $18,000 to $28,000 more. Below is the list for the 10 colleges whose students graduated with the highest debt in 2011:


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  1. This is result of parents not planning for there kids future. It is time for African-Americans parents (all parents for that matter) to start a college fund for their children when they are young. Many 529 College Plans you can start at $50 per month and you can lock in the cost of college at todays prices rather than when your child will turn college age. Do a little research. Your kids education should be a priority over brand name clothes, Air Jordans, Perms, or Tattoos. Even if you have a little saved it is imperative to begin early. you should not want your kid to be saddled with debt or struggling over ways to pay for college. Yes, a kid can get a part time job while in college, and some kids do. However a part time job will help, but you don't want your kids to sacrifice their grades for work, if so why did you send them to college in the first place. Also a part time job may help out with basic emenities, and if your kid stays on campus, the cost is even more. Their sole focus should be on succeeding at the college level. Also JR colleges are an option to begin their secondary education. They are much cheaper than 4 yr universities, smaller, and not as overwhelming for some kids. Bottom line, the cost of college is going up and up, therefore the sooner you start saving, the better. For a 5yr child…$100 a month for 13 years is $15,600 (doesn't include interest). That is at least a start.

  2. Did I miss something or did the U S News & World Report miss something?

    I can not believe out of more than 1000 schools, the UCLA, OHIO STATE, HARVARD, TEXAS etc, etc where it cost nearly and some times more than $50K per year to go to school and having the same percentage of students borrowing that the HBCU’s would lead the list when it cost less than 1/2 as much to attend. Am I wrong?

    Shows me the data that includes the other schools.

  3. I am back in school and I thought going to college was the American Dream so you can make money, but I always have a hustle, 50 percent school, 50 percent hustle.

  4. I am back in school and I thought going to college was the American Dream so you can make money, but I always have a hustle, 50 percent school, 50 percent hustle.

  5. Black students have higher debt? What a shocker!

  6. The decision to attend college is a complex decision. Formal education is a process wherein ‘future orientation’ is the key element. If a person grows up in an environment there future orientation in not a core value the decision to go following graduation from high school comes in a rush. It could be that a planned approach is what is missing.

    There is a statistic that is worth noting-first in family to go to college. It is not a burden if you can attend Atlanta University. The likelihood that you will, upon graduation, acquire a career azimuth that will allow you to pay off the loan because you get a position that has both salary and promise is promising. Students from the lower class have a much more difficult task in getting their career off the launch pad. Hard choices.

  7. Elizabeth your comment is very logical. I took this route and left school debt free. My friends borrowed and got their master’s to the tune 75,000 to 100,000. I went the route you stated because I knew that I could get the same classes at the jr college just transferred them to the 4 year university.

    You must realize that a degree is a status symbol for some and not a means of getting ahead.

  8. What should be looked at is the ability to pay for college. If you notice where persons are as a group borrowing(over 50%) the amount is higher for the school loans.

  9. It is time for African-Americans to start a college fund for their children when they are young. Even if you have a little saved it is better than starting with nothing. Also, teach your children to borrow what they need not what they want.

    Consider a JR. College first and then move up to a 4 yr instituton.

    Get a degree in a field where jobs are plentiful, don’t take the easy degree.

  10. This is extremely disappointing to read. Not only because some of the schools are HBCU's. College debt is astounding in the United States – and sadly the debt is magnified by the lack of employment for college graduates. If one of the reasons to go to college is to put yourself in a better position to make more money, why go if there are not any jobs; or why go if the jobs that are available are 'suddenly' paying the bare minimum. College is a great place to grow if he/she positions themselves to receive the valuable lessons. However, when it is all said and done considering the employment market and economy, mastering a trade/vocation that will be in demand may just be the best route to take instead of drowning in debt with no foreseeable life raft. Besides, why go to a HBCU or any school that does not carry name recognition. Clark Atlanta, Bennett, JC Smith, and Delaware State don't carry any significant 'weight' in the professional world. They just don't which is another reason these HBCU's need to be evaluated.

    • Nedrea SweetPea Scott

      I graduated from CAU May 21, 2012 and returned for Grad School. CAU holds a lot of significance that you don't know about, because you DON'T attend CAU. There are jobs, people don't position themselves prior to crossing the stage. HBCU's are good because they are a safe haven for students who would otherwise not make it at PWI's based on the color of their skin. I am not a racist person, because I am African Irish Native American, and I do not believe in reverse racism, however, there are still some foolish few, who believe that the color of your skin is what will either make you or break you. In other instances, there are not enough jobs out here, even for those who do align themselves correctly to know what to do with the Degree they have. So, in many respects, your assessment is correct, but in many ways, it is incorrect.

    • Nedrea SweetPea Scott I am very familiar with CAU. My professional life has allowed to work on campus. From my analysis, CAU is a university that has significant issues. Many schools do. However, CAU does not have the reputation of a Howard or a Hampton…Morehouse or Spelman. Name recognition is critical. Sadly, many of the HBCU's have tarnished names. My assessment may read/sound harsh but I am all too familiar with the university system in many respects. The quality of the student is suffering at HBCU's. Unfortunately, several HBCU are willingly accepting non-quality which shows when the covers are pulled back. This also adds to the subject at hand: school debt. The non-quality student should not be permitted to attend – and passed on just to maintain a profit. This leaves undeserving
      losers and not enough winners.

    • Felix Stelly-Jolivette

      In many cases, I might even say in the majority of cases – indeed let me say that specifically in the majority of cases name recognition is extremely important when it comes to upper crust employment. This is especially true in the academic world, the elite corporate structure, the medical field, and the legal profession.