Not all student loan debt is created equal. The federal College Scorecard tracks median earnings data by institution. When paired with median debt levels, earnings data gives a glimpse into what kind of return on investment schools provide.
Take two Western New York colleges, Villa Maria and D’Youville. D’Youville graduated students with slightly higher median debt – $26,000 to Villa Maria’s $24,750. For D’Youville graduates, that’s a monthly payment of $261 over 10 years, at an interest rate of 3.86 percent. A typical Villa Maria graduate’s payments were slightly less at $249.
But median earnings for students from the respective institutions were dramatically different. D’Youville students ended up making $48,300 on average while Villa Maria graduates made $27,600. So D’Youville students spent 6.5 percent of their incomes paying back student loans, while Villa students spent 10.8 percent.
Villa also had the lowest share of its students who earned at least $25,000 a decade after first starting at the college.
Houghton College had the highest repayment rate of all Western New York colleges and universities, including SUNY schools, while Canisius College had the highest share of students who made at least $25,000.