If you’re neck-deep in student loan debt, it’s possible that your choice of college contributed to your final bill. Graduates from certain universities — especially small liberal or performing arts colleges — often leave school with a greater financial burden compared to alumni from other universities.
To help assess the cost of education in the U.S., GOBankingRates examined data from LendEDU to determine the 25 schools with the highest amount of debt per borrower. We also included the average student loan debt in the states where those schools are located.
It’s important to note that high debt doesn’t always result from expensive tuition; those figures also reflect the general wealth and financial needs of the student population at that college. For example, tuition at Princeton University costs $51,870 for the 2019-20 academic year, but the median family income is $186,100, according to The New York Times — meaning students often don’t need to borrow as much.
Click through to see which colleges have the highest and lowest student debt.
26. Curry College
- Debt per borrower: $45,947
Curry College is located in Massachusetts, one of the states with the highest average student debt. Students in Massachusetts owe $31,319, on average, which is nearly $15,000 less than what borrowers at Curry College owe.
25. Delaware Valley University
- Debt per borrower: $45,953
This educational institution finds its home in Pennsylvania, which is one of the top three states with the most student debt. Compared to Pennsylvania’s average student debt of $36,193, borrowers at Delaware Valley University owe approximately $10,000 more.
24. Gwynedd Mercy University
- Debt per borrower: $46,139
Gwynedd Mercy University can be found in Pennsylvania, which is home to some of the most beautiful colleges in America. The state average student debt is $36,193, which means scholars at this university borrow just under $10,000 more, on average.
23. University of the Sciences
- Debt per borrower: $46,210
The University of the Sciences is located in Pennsylvania, where the average student debt is $36,193. Students attending this university borrow just over $10,000 more in comparison.
22. Ringling College of Art and Design
- Debt per borrower: $46,575
Ringling College of Art and Design is a small liberal arts school in Florida with students carrying high amounts of debt. The state’s average student debt is $23,556, which means Ringling undergraduates owe a whopping $23,019 more, on average.
21. Long Island University Brooklyn
- Debt per borrower: $46,578
You’ll need to earn a high salary to afford tuition and live comfortably in New York — and that might hold true if you plan to attend Long Island University Brooklyn. Students at LIU Brooklyn have an average debt that is about $15,000 higher than the state average of $31,506.
20. Saint Vincent College
- Debt per borrower: $46,794
Located in Pennsylvania, Saint Vincent College has a student population that owes an average of $46,794 per borrower, which is $10,601 more than the state’s average student debt of $36,193.
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19. Philander Smith College
- Debt per borrower: $46,965
Students at Philander Smith College, a liberal arts institution, owe just over $20,000 more than the average university student in Arkansas. The state has an average student debt of $26,561.
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18. Grambling State University
- Debt per borrower: $47,162
Those that attend Grambling State University need to borrow $20,354 more than Louisiana’s average student debt of $26,808.
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17. Misericordia University
- Debt per borrower: $47,764
Pennsylvania’s average student loan debt is $36,193, which means students attending Misericordia University carry debt that is typically $11,571 higher than average.
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16. Wilkes University
- Debt per borrower: $47,907
Students at Wilkes University tend to borrow $11,714 more than the Pennsylvania state average of $36,193. If you’re concerned about the costs of education, learn how you can get more money from FAFSA.
15. University of San Francisco
- Debt per borrower: $48,201
Located in one of the most expensive cities in America, the University of San Francisco is the first West Coast school on this list. The university has a debt per borrower amount that is more than double California’s average student debt of $22,383.
14. Dean College
- Debt per borrower: $48,717
Scholars attending Dean College in Massachusetts owe $17,398 more than the state’s average student debt of $31,319.
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13. Quinnipiac University
- Debt per borrower: $48,894
Connecticut is one of the states hit hardest by the student debt crisis. That fact is reflected in the $48,894 — which is $17,251 more than the state average of $31,643 — that Quinnipiac University students have to borrow.
12. University of New Haven
- Debt per borrower: $49,941
Borrowers at the University of New Haven tend to owe $18,298 more than the Connecticut average student debt of $31,643.
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11. Berklee College of Music
- Debt per borrower: $50,177
Borrowers at the Berklee College of Music owe more than twice as much compared to other students in the Golden State. California’s average student debt is $22,383. If you need to take out student loans, see how different lenders stack up.
10. The Culinary Institute of America
- Debt per borrower: $51,200
Students at the Culinary Institute of America face a debt per borrower amount that is nearly $20,000 more than New York’s average student debt of $31,506.
9. Hardin-Simmons University
- Debt per borrower: $51,346
The average student debt in Texas is $27,001, which means borrowers at Hardin-Simmons University owe significantly more compared to other students in the Lone Star State — $24,345, to be exact.
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8. Bryant University
- Debt per borrower: $52,949
As one of the 15 states where private school costs more than college, Rhode Island has an average student debt of $35,371. Borrowers at Bryant University owe $17,578 more in comparison.
7. Washington & Jefferson College
- Debt per borrower: $54,184
The last Pennsylvania school on this list, Washington & Jefferson College has a debt-per-borrower amount that is $17,991 higher than the state’s average student debt of $36,193.
6. MCPHS University
- Debt per borrower: $58,012
Students at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences owe $26,693 more than the state’s average student debt of $31,319. If you’re struggling to eliminate debt, learn these 15 ways to pay off student loans.
5. Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts
- Debt per borrower: $62,290
The average student debt in New York is $31,506, which means borrowers at the Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts owe a whopping $30,784 more than average. Click to see how one conversation with a professor turned into a $10,000 scholarship.
4. New York School of Interior Design
- Debt per borrower: $65,401
Students at the New York School of Interior Design owe more than twice the amount of the state’s average student debt, which totals $31,506.
3. Parsons School of Design
- Debt per borrower: $70,361
Parsons School of Design is the first of only two colleges where the debt per borrower exceeds $70,000. The school is located in New York, where the average student debt is $31,506.
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2. The New School College of Performing Arts
- Debt per borrower: $77,353
In a state where the average student debt is $31,506, students at the New School College of Performing Arts owe a staggering $45,847 more in comparison — an increase of 145.5 percent.
Click through to see the most expensive colleges in every state.
1. Where Are the High Student Debt Colleges Located?
One state in particular — New York — is home to the top four colleges with the greatest amount of debt per borrower. Pennsylvania also earned the dubious honor of having the most colleges on this list: seven schools in total.
Overall, the majority of universities with the highest amount of debt per borrower can be found on the East Coast, with some exceptions in Arkansas, California, Louisiana and Texas.
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Methodology: GOBankingRates determined (1) the 25 schools with the most and least debt per borrower plus (2) the average student debt in the states where the universities are located. Data was sourced from LendEDU and represent debt as of the 2017 graduating year.