* Those of you who have completed third grade will likely notice that this post will not contain a dozen names; I just liked writing the Dirty Dozen.

Families who plan to spend some time this summer visiting colleges should take notice beforehand of which colleges are good financial fits. The Project on Student Debt from TICAS, The Institute for College Access and Success, publishes an annual report on student debt that includes listings of high-debt colleges. There are many such rankings available– just Google “colleges with high student debt” and you’ll get hundreds– but I like this one for a couple of reasons:

  • They don’t bother listing for-profit schools, so you can actually see four year, public and non-profit schools in the rankings
  • They include both federal and private debt

Their list isn’t foolproof, however; they’re still limited by what colleges report. In any case, here are their top debt schools. Note that the fact that these are high debt schools does not necessarily mean that your student *will* graduate with high debt should they attend one of these; there are many reasons for schools to be high-debt including student body demographics and cost of living at the college. But it does often tie to a school’s financial aid policies. So, here goes:

High-Debt Public Schools (listed alphabetically)

  • Alabama A&M
  • Albany State
  • Alcorn State
  • Coastal Carolina
  • Delaware State
  • Ferris State
  • Maine Maritime Academy
  • Massachusetts Maritime Academy
  • Michigan Tech
  • Morgan State
  • Penn State (multiple campuses)
  • Temple
  • Tennessee State
  • Texas Southern
  • UNH (main campus)
  • University of Pittsburgh (Bradford, Greensburg, Johnston & Pittsburth campuses)
  • Winona State


High-Debt Private Non-Profit Schools (alphabetically)

  • Abilene Christian
  • Anna Maria
  • Canisius College
  • Cedar Crest College
  • Curry College
  • Everglades University
  • Indiana Institute of Technology
  • LIU Brooklyn
  • MacMurray College
  • Marywood University
  • Quinnipiac University
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • Ringling College of Art and Design
  • Sacred Heart University
  • School of the Art Institute of Chicago
  • Springfield College
  • The College of Saint Scholastica
  • University of New Haven
  • Utica College
  • Wheelock College

The full report is here.

One thing to keep in mind as you visit colleges: Average student debt upon graduation is around $28,950– roughly equivalent to four years of direct student loans. If a school is graduating students with higher average debt than that, you need to know more before you consider the school. You can look up individual schools’ debt by student at the National Center for Education Statistics’ website here.