WWU Students Incur Less Student Loan Debt Than National Average

August 15, 2017

Walla Walla University encourages students to reduce their student loan debt, and statistics show it is working. In 2012, 81 percent of WWU graduating seniors had student loans. By 2016, that number had decreased to 68 percent. Of thousands of private colleges and universities surveyed, WWU ranked 36th for students with the least amount of private student loan debt as of May 2017.

When planning to pay for college, Cassie Ragenovich, WWU student financial services director, advises students, “Plan ahead. Start saving early. Get a summer job, and save those earnings for school. Apply for as many scholarships as possible. Study hard in high school so you qualify for maximum merit scholarships.”

According to studentloanhero.com, the national average student loan debt for 2016 was $37,172. WWU’s average student loan debt was $34,385. Loan default rates at WWU are also much lower than the national average. The national average default rate for Federal Direct Loans is 11.3 percent; for WWU students it is 2.3 percent. The national average default rate for Perkins Loans is 11.93 percent; for WWU students it is 1.57 percent. This means most WWU students are able to manage their student loan payments.

“We attribute a lot of the decline in student loan borrowing to our generous scholarship program,” says Ragenovich. “Some students are awarded over $50,000 towards their degree expenses. WWU also encourages families to search for other sources of funding plus promotes ways to save money in college.”

For more information about how to pay for college, view the WWU video, “25 Ways to Keep College Costs Down,” at www.wallawalla.edu/25ways.

Annie Gibson, WWU university relations student writer