Our Maine Street's Aroostook Issue 18 : Fall 2013 - Page 72

feature story The Most Affordable The Most Affordable T he year 2013 started on a bright note for UMFK when – quite unexpectedly – the University found itself atop a list issued by the nationally-recognized U.S. News & World Report: 10 Colleges Where Graduates Have the Least Debt. UMFK was included among a U.S. News & World Report “Short List” of the top 10 colleges where borrowers owed an average of $10,000, or less, at graduation. UMFK was the top-rated national four-year public institution on the list. The average debt load for a 2011 UMFK graduate was a miserly $9,505. The “Short List” also includes such venerable institutions as Princeton and Yale universities. You may have heard of them. “At a time when we read about college graduates being burdened with debt, it is refreshing to see firm evidence that Maine’s public universities offer affordable pathways to a bachelor’s degree and economic opportunity. The low debt of UMFK graduates shows what a great value and tremendous return on investment a UMFK education is,” said President Wilson G. Hess. Nation-wide, sixty-eight percent of graduates from the class of 2011 borrowed to help pay for college, according to data reported by 1,033 ranked colleges in a 2012 U.S. News survey. On average, those students had $26,220 in debt. The debt data used in these calculations 6 | The Bell Tower includes loans taken out by students from colleges, financial institutions, and federal, state, and local governments. It excluded any loans taken by a student’s parents. A May 2013 CNN Money article stated that the average collegerelated debt of a 2013 graduate has increased to $35,200 when you calculate student loans, credit cards, and money o