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Student Debt Increasing At San Diego Schools

Across the country, 2010’s college graduates left school owing about 5 percent more than the class before them. San Diego’s public university students saw their debt increase at about the same rate.

— Students graduating from San Diego State University in 2010 with debt owed about $15,500 a piece, 5 percent more than the class of 2009. Those graduating from UC San Diego with loans to repay owed more than $18,700, 6 percent more than the class ahead of them.

Californians appeared better off than those in other states. Average debt here was just over $18,000 compared with more than $25,000 nationally.

But Patricia Gandara, co-director of the Civil Rights Project at UCLA, said those numbers have to be considered in the context of California’s economy and who attends the state’s schools.

“Among the Latino population -- which now is the majority population in the schools in this state -- their families were hit extraordinarily hard by this recession," she said. "They’ve lost at least two-thirds of their wealth.

According to the Civil Rights Project's 2010 survey of Cal State students, those loads are likely to keep increasing as students have a harder time getting the classes they need to graduate due to budget cuts. Gandara said 77 percent of survey respondents said they thought it was going to take at least one year more than they had planned to get their bachelors degree.

“When it is taking them longer to graduate of course, they’re getting deeper into debt, too, right? You’re not earning anything but you’re just draining any resources that you have,” Gandara said.

Tuition also rose 23 percent for Cal State students and more than 17 percent for University of California students this fall.

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