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March 02, 2018

The student loan debt of public college graduates in Massachusetts is rising faster than in nearly all other states, according to a new report out this week.

The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, which did the study, found the average debt for graduates from public four-year schools now almost equals the debt of the state's private college graduates.

"It hasn't always been that way," said Noah Berger who heads the research organization. "There was a time when kids coming from any kind of income background, if they're going to work hard and be able to go to college, the fees and tuitions were pretty affordable."

The report also says between 2004 and 2016 the average debt for graduates from public four-year schools grew faster than in all but one state - Delaware.

"The publics are still more affordable than private colleges and universities. but they are becoming more expensive and that's a potential danger for our economy if it's harder for people to get that kind of quality public higher education," Berger said.

Students are paying more for public college because since 2001 the state has cut funding by 32 percent per student.

The report also finds Massachusetts ranks forty-fifth in public higher education funding.

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