Caps off to Florida: Our student debt levels are among the lowest in the nation

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With graduation season starting up, here is some good news for Florida students: our state has the 5th lowest ratio of college seniors graduating with debt, and has among the lowest average dollar amount of these loans, too.

The Washington Post reported on data from across the U.S., depicting the average four-year college graduate carrying $29,400 in loans. This is a 6 percent jump from 2008. Overall, the share of college graduates with loan debt increased from 68 percent in 2008 to 71 percent in 2012.

In Florida, however, 51 percent of college seniors graduate with loans, with an average debt of $22,873.

This is a testament to Florida’s efforts to keep tuition low and climbing more slowly than elsewhere.

With the legislative session ending this week, lawmakers are poised to boost these trends by lowering the cap on annual college-tuition increases from 15 percent to 6 percent. The 15 percent maximum increase was placed into law in 2007, and the Board of Governors used this option to the max several times since then. Capping an increase at a max of 6 percent will surely help Florida keep student debt levels low.

Other tuition-related measures are also making their way through the process: one would permit in-state fees for children of illegal immigrants who attend and graduate from Florida high schools, and another would do the same for veterans who move to Florida for their education.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.