By EMILY DALY
On March 6, 2016, LendEDU revealed that the University of Mary Washington ranked 57 out of 1,004 schools in their 2016 College Risk-Reward Indicator study. In the study, LendEDU divided the average student loan debt per graduate by the average salary of graduates with 0-5 years of experience.
LendEDU used the Institute for College Access and Success’ Project on Student Debt and Payscale’s College Salary Report for 2015- 2016 to conduct their study. According to LendEDU’s website, UMW placed in the top 100 for having an average student loan debt of $17,460 per graduate and an average early career pay of $44,800 per graduate. Compared with the average college debt of $30,000 that will follow most individuals graduating in 2016, the University of Mary Washington placed as a low-risk school.
UMW was one of four Virginia universities that placed in the top 100. Others included were Hampton University, ranked 7th, the University of Virginia, ranked 87th, and Washington & Lee, ranked 90th.
The Institute for College Access and Success’ Project on Student Debt from 2014, which was used as a basis for LendEDU’s survey, revealed that on average, 48 percent of the University of Mary Washington graduates will have debt. The 2013-2014 total cost of attendance was estimated to be $24,076 by the Institute for College Access and Success’ Project on Student Debt.
LendEDU states that calculating debt and comparing it with early career compensation is important because the early years of joining the workforce are the most crucial to paying back college debt. Postponing paying off college debt can easily lead to low credit scores and issues with getting loans. In addition, students need to consider college debt while choosing their university because on average, college costs $19,548 a year, leaving 7 out of 10 students in debt by graduation LendEDU’s website states.
“Students should consider the risk-reward of attendance before choosing an institute of higher education to attend,” UMW stated in its March 28 newsletter March. UMW’s Director of Media and Public Relations Marty Morrison says that UMW’s ranking
“validates that UMW is a great value, especially when considering average student debt UMW students incur in comparison with the average starting pay its graduates earn.”
“That’s surprising seeing how small our school is, but perhaps I set my expectations too low for this university,” said freshman Kyle Welty. When asked if she was surprised about the school’s ranking Marty Morrison replied, “Not at all. The ranking validates what we’ve known all along.”
LendEDU, specializes in assisting students in managing and lowering their college debt through allowing them to access scholarships and lenders. Their website offers tips on personal finance and tools for assisting students with payment plans.