New Yorkers statewide have $82 billion in student loan debt and city borrowers are having the hardest time paying it off, according to a report released Tuesday.
State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s office analyzed data from the Federal Reserve Bank and found that the city’s average student loan debt was $35,000 in 2015, a 42% jump from the $24,600 average in 2006. The national average was $29,700 last year.
Manhattan led the city and state with the highest average debt at $44,500. Although the Bronx was the only borough where the average was under $30,000, 19% of its borrowers were more than 90 days late on their payments, according to the report.
DiNapoli and activists said the rising debts will have long term repercussions on the state’s economy if it isn’t curbed.
“New Yorkers saddled with college debt have less disposable income and often have to push off buying a home or saving for the future,” he said in a statement.
Ciena Leshley, 22, of Bushwick, said her $14,000 debt for her NYU education costs has her on edge about her future in the city.
“I am from Atlanta, Georgia, if I cannot get job in New York, I am going home because it is cheap there,” the senior year student said.
Jae Lee, a freshman at NYU, said he has taken out loans to pay for his yearly $66,000 bill. “It is ridiculous. Government should funding education,” he said.
DiNapoli said higher costs for tuition, room and board and other fees at colleges is one of the factors behind the increased debt. Between 2006 and 2015, college costs went up by 55% for in-state students at public colleges and 50% for private colleges, the report said.
Lauren Asher, the president of the Institute for College Access & Success, the nonprofit that runs the Project on Student Debt initiative, agreed.
She noted that New York, like other states across the country, has seen a decrease in government funding and bolstering their schools would go a long way.
“The more that states invest in public colleges and universities the less that’s passed onto students and parents when it comes to tuition,” Asher said.
NYU spokesman John Beckman responded to the report in a statement contending the “average student debt at NYU is actually lower than it was 10 years ago, and our default rates are substantially lower than the report describes.”
Columbia University declined to comment about the report. Representatives from CUNY, SUNY and Fordham University didn’t return messages for comment.
Columbia University declined to comment about the report. Representatives from CUNY, SUNY, NYU and Fordham University didn’t return messages for comment.