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In recent years, student debt has become an increasingly concerning problem for American college students. Surveys have shown that student loan debt has impacted the housing market. The Obama administration has taken steps to allow debt forgiveness to help students who have been "defrauded," according to Education Secretary John B. King Jr.

The list highlights the top 50 four-year colleges with at least 100 undergraduate students and is sorted by median loan debt accumulated at the institution by all student borrowers of federal loans who graduate or withdraw in a given fiscal year. Also included is each institution's rate of students defaulting on their student loans within three years after entering repayment.


Though most schools on the list are private, not-for-profit schools, for-profit institutions have the highest default rates. Each university in the top 50 has a median loan debt over $25,000.

A look at the list shows 20 schools with a median loan debt of $27,000. The reason for this is that many institutions - especially four-year private non-profit schools - have total borrowing amounts equal to federal loan limits. Students can borrow up to $12,000 for two years at two-year schools and up to $27,000 for four years of college at four-year schools. Further, it's worth noting that these debt amounts exclude private student loans and Parent PLUS loans, even though a small minority of students borrow with these loans.

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Note: In the event of ties, the school with the higher percent of undergraduate students receiving federal loans was ranked higher.