Dealing With Debt: 1992-93 Bachelorís Degree Recipients 10 Years Later - Debt Burden

Debt Burden

Among those who had not enrolled in graduate or first-professional degree programs and were still repaying their undergraduate loans, the median debt burden (defined as monthly loan payment as a percentage of monthly income) was 3.3 percent (table 12). Because monthly payments were fixed throughout the repayment period but income generally rose over time, debt burden declined over time. Earlier studies of 1992–93 bachelor’s degree recipients found a median debt burden of 6.7 percent in 1994 and 4.8 percent in 1997 (Choy 2000; Choy and Li 2005). For those who had borrowed the largest amounts (more than $15,000), the median debt burden was 4.5 percent in 2003, and for those in the lowest income group (bottom quarter), it was 6.0 percent. By 2003, about 90 percent of borrowers were within the 8 percent generally considered reasonable, but 3 percent had debt burden of 12 percent or more (figure B).