These Are The Students Most Crushed By The Debt Crisis

But the data show those who are most buried in student debt are people like Rhapsody and Shawnta.

A disproportionate number are black. They are often older than 40. Almost two-thirds of the student debt in the country is held by women. Many attended for-profit colleges. Some didn’t graduate, leaving them in debt for a certificate they never received.

They’re people like Elvis Vest, a 36-year-old Philadelphian whose wages are being garnisheed to cover the $13,000 he owes after attending the University of Phoenix but not graduating.

They’re like Alexis Wilson, a rising senior at St. Joseph’s University who took out three loans to cover about $30,000 in expenses per year. She has no idea what her total tab is, she’s too scared to look. And they’re like Melody Bostic, who is $60,000 in debt after getting a marketing degree she says she’s hardly used.

The well-documented crisis is particularly acute in Pennsylvania, which at 2016 graduation had the second-highest average debt load in the country, $35,759, according to an analysis from the Institute for College Access and Success (TICAS).

Nearly 70 percent of students of four-year institutions in Pennsylvania graduated with some sort of education-related burden that year, fourth-highest in the nation. New Jersey also ranked in the top 20 states in both average debt and percentage of students with debt.

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