NH Earns Dubious Distinction With Student Loan Debt (Opinion)

Monday, November 21, 2011

New Hampshire is, and loves to be, first. We fight for the first-in-the-nation primary and proudly tout our standing on lists like “healthiest state” and “safest state.”

But New Hampshire also has the dubious distinction of being No. 1 in student debt. Recent reports show college graduates carry an average debt of $31,048, the most in the country, and the state has the second-greatest proportion of students with debt, 74 percent.

New Hampshire has long held another dubious distinction of having the lowest public investment in higher education in the nation, less than half the national average.

High in-state tuition at our public colleges, universities and community colleges makes it difficult to retain students in New Hampshire; 48 percent of students going to college leave the state to do so, compared with a national average of 18 percent.

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