Oklahoma Baptist University

OBU’s Average Student Loan Debt Load Smaller Than State’s Flagship Universities

While OBU has garnered several national accolades for quality and value in 2006, the university recently fared well on a national study of average student loan debt load for recent graduates.

The study, Student Debt and the Class of 2005: Average Debt by State, Sector, and School, analyzed data from more than 1,400 institutions across the nation. For Oklahoma, the average debt load for graduates in 2005 totaled $17,063, ranking the state 30th nationally.

While graduates from private universities in the state had an average debt of $23,397, OBU graduates’ average debt load was $16,614. That compared favorably with the average debt load for the state’s public institutions, which was $15,813. Average debt loads for the state’s two comprehensive universities were higher than OBU’s. Oklahoma State University’s average debt for graduates was $17,844, and the average for the University of Oklahoma’s 2005 graduates was $18,494. Regionally, East Central University in Ada had an average debt load of $16,169.

The study was conducted by the Project On Student Debt. According to its website, the organization “works to increase public understanding” of the trend of borrowing as a “primary way to pay for higher education.” The project’s stated goal is “to identify cost-effective solutions that expand educational opportunity, protect family financial security, and advance economic competitiveness.”

“The study affirms what we hear from students and their families every year,” said Trent Argo, OBU dean of enrollment management. “The overall cost of attending OBU is not very different from the cost of attending large public universities. The financial assistance we are able to provide allows our students to gain a strong education which also is a good value.”

“To compare well with our state’s public institutions is a strong testimony to the value of an OBU education,” said OBU President Mark Brister. “Numerous studies and reports show an education at a private Christian college is a worthwhile investment. Student loans are an effective way to invest in an appreciating asset: the life and potential of a young adult. We are pleased that the average debt for our graduates is below our state and national averages.”

While Oklahoma’s average debt load for 2005 graduates ranked 30th, adjacent states had similar averages:

StateAverage Student Debt LoadRank
Texas$17,17628
Oklahoma$17,06330
Arkansas$17,00431
Kansas$16,75332
Colorado$16,34639
New Mexico$16,13740

The highest overall debt load average for a state was New Hampshire’s $22,793. The lowest was Utah’s average of $11,709. For more information about the study, visit www.projectonstudentdebt.org.

In recent months, OBU has been listed as one of “America’s Best Value Colleges” for 2007 by The Princeton Review, has been Oklahoma’s highest ranked comprehensive college in the 2007 U.S. News & World Report ratings of “America’s Best Colleges,” and has been listed as one of the 123 “Best in the West” colleges by The Princeton Review.

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